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Latest news 8 August 2023

Swarm Learning, the extraordinary lesson to be learned from ants…

Writen by acci

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Let’s see. Like bees, for example, ants have the capacity to “amplify” their individual intelligence by taking advantage of a collective intelligence that is created thanks to their work in trials. In short, these insects are able to produce a unified system that allows them to solve complex problems and make decisions in a better way through group interactions. Unfortunately, humans do not have this natural ability, because we lack the subtle connections that would allow us to establish feedback between us that is essential for the creation of a unified system.

The question remains: why is a colony of insects coherent in its decisions and actions while each individual seems autonomous? How is this self-organization made possible? The answer is simple and falls under the phenomenon called “swarm intelligence” by ethologists and biologists. This does not call on any sophisticated reasoning of the insect, it rather results from the reflex type interactions between all the members and from the dynamics of the system generated. Intelligence then arises thanks to the community.

A concrete example will help you understand the concept better. A scientific study has, in fact, demonstrated that ants were able to choose, in just a few minutes, the shortest path that leads them to food. In summary, this learning without conventional communication can be explained by the fact that ants leave behind pheromones, a molecule that binds other individuals of the same species. Ants that have chosen, by chance, the shortest path, return more quickly to the nest and also return more quickly to the food, thus increasing the pheromone load in their path. These markers very quickly become the most powerful magnet for other ants who will converge on this trail, rather than the one initially taken.

Now let’s return to humans and mention that today, thanks to our very high-speed networks, it is easier than ever to connect with each other, wherever we are in the world. However, if we add technology to these connections which becomes a system capable of generating relevant feedback between each person in real time, we succeed in creating a human swarm. Also, more and more platforms are being developed for this purpose. They combine interfaces and algorithms that enable the convergence of ideas and human knowledge from different groups, all in real time.

Thanks to studies carried out by renowned universities, it has been demonstrated that the results obtained in swarms were superior to those obtained individually, for example for the prediction of financial or sporting results. The University of Oxford1 even concluded that “Swarm Intelligence” had improved the accuracy of predictions by 131%, while Stanford University announced a comparable performance in terms of diagnostic accuracy in the medical field. .

Swarm intelligence and the platforms that make it accessible to humans would therefore be a path to consider for making the best decisions, regardless of the field concerned.

This is a more than interesting subject to follow, namely the connection between artificial intelligence and natural intelligence, unlike the first which replaces the second…

See you soon,


  1. Book available on Oxford Scholarship Online, November 2020, ISBN-13: 9780195131581

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