Forget traditional big data analytics, welcome to swarm intelligence

Written by on December 13, 2016 in Opinion with 1 Comment

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More and more we seem to be turning to nature for our technological inspiration. From robots that can leap like a lemur to the behaviour of swarms of animals, we see it, recognise the benefits and build it better.

Take swarm intelligence.

Earlier this year, just 75 randomly selected people accurately predicted that Donald Trump would be voted TIME magazine’s person of the year. Now that may not have been the brain twister that it could have been, since the prize is given to the person who most affected the news during the year, but it is certainly interesting. It is also interesting because neither Trump nor Clinton were seen to be in the running before the experiment.

Swarm intelligence – UNU is an example – has also predicted the outcome of the Oscars, NFL playoffs and the winner (and runners up) of the Kentucky Derby.

From Futurism:

UNU is a new form of artificial intelligence (AI) that combines real-time human input with advanced algorithms to create the world’s first hive mind. It’s anchored on the science of swarm intelligence, which works by allowing groups of online users to think as a collective, thus expressing itself as a single entity.

Essentially it amplifies intelligence in the same way that swarms of bees, birds and fish do to protect themselves and form plans.

There is no thinking – yet – that we should scrap our hard fought for big data analytics budgets and subscribe to UNU but it is something to keep an eye on.

Like VR, AR and many other technical developments, the immediate applications are in games, gambling and generally having fun.

For thousands of years there has been an awareness of a collective sub-conscious. Things were being discovered or invented at almost exactly the same time in different parts of the world, before any meaningful long distance communications was possible.

Now that we do have instant communication, combined with advanced AI, who knows what we will be able to predict, and therefore react to in a relevant and timely manner?

Oh, here’s one: Google will buy UNU within the next two years.

What do you think?

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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  1. Alex Leslie says:

    Seems like DT are already using swarm intelligence to enable better traffic management.

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