Why swarm A.I. is more creative than Jeff Bezos?


Jeff Bezos tweeted in June that he wanted short-term, high-impact ways to do social good and Unanimous A.I. deployed its swarm A.I. platform to put 46,000 suggestions to a vote, using a method inspired by how bees swarm.

This is an article on how swarm A.I. gets closer to ‘integral, natural creativity‘ and what this means for humankind.

I. Introduction

AI means artificial intelligence. Id Est humans’ trial of mimicking nature’s creativity and intelligence. And you may try to mimic the intelligence of a plant, of a human mind or of a colony of ants (biological swarms in general).

Ants’ life is an example of biological complex systems (in the sense of the theory of complexity), characterized by simple components (agents) and nonlinear interactions among them (the whole is more than the addition of the agents), no central control and emergent behaviours (especially evolution and learning). Natural, potent creativity is such a similar process and we call it ‘integral creativity‘.

Swarm AI is humans’ trial of replicating ants problem-solving behaviour (creativity) for their benefit.

We will demonstrate below how mimicking biological complex systems functioning (ants, in this case), we may get closer to powerful personal creativity and business innovation.

First, let’s gather some knowledge from the ant world.

II. Ants’ Eusocial Life And Evolution

1. We are visitors in their world

Ants have existed on Earth without interruption for around 200 million years (as well as bees, wasps, and termites, which are some of the only species of creatures that hold this record). We think this is due especially to their form of organizing.

It is estimated that there are about a quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000) ants worldwide. The biggest ant colony was identified on the Ishikari Coast, in Hokkaido, Japan, where there were 45,000 interconnected nests over an area of 2.7 square kilometres. Some ants form ‘supercolonies’, that is, massive communities of ants spread over thousands of kilometres.  In this time, over 10,000 subspecies of ants were inventoried.

2. Ants’ home

In the case of a colony of ants, their colony’s final ‘aim’ is related to its survival and perpetuation. A colony never crumbles from within. The only reason why a colony might disappear is to be conquered by another colony, but in this case, conquered ants are often embedded in the new colony.

When looking for a new house, ants apply a set of extraordinarily effective rules. First, ‘researcher ants’ (few in number) begin to look for a new habitable space. Each unit is tested and ‘measured’ several times to check whether it will be large enough to accommodate the entire colony. If space passes this first test, the ants return to the colony on a ‘mission of persuasion’: They communicate and sometimes forcefully oblige other ants to follow them to the new place. After this ‘persuassion campaign’ reaches a critical number of ants, the rest of the colony at that point is simply driven to the new home forcibly. Throughout this adventure to find a new location, ants communicate with each other constantly, and their ‘responsibility’ is that they do not deviate from the mission of finding a new home until it is completed. They continually share their ‘assumptions’ and invite other ants to provide feedback.

Integral creativity happens when there is a big ‘why?’ or ‘what if?’ triggering motivation. In ants case for finding a new home, the ‘why?’ is linked to their survival. This, in fact, led to the 200 million years history.

3. Ants’ life and roles

The life of an ant is several tens of days (45 to 60). The queen lives up to five years and in this time can lay several thousand eggs every day. Each colony has a single queen whose only job is to lay eggs (not to rule, command or direct others). The queen lays eggs that are taken care of by ‘ant caretakers’ until they pass the stage of larva, pupa, and adult. Ants in the early stages are kept separate from each other. All ants in a colony are female and sterile. Male ants have only the role of fertilizing the queen and later, they die. The functions ants perform are related to foraging, defending against other intruders, defending the colony queen and making the colony clean. Ants do not possess any kind of hierarchy (teal organizations?). Their functions (roles) are determined at birth (by their genetics and epigenetics – the special way they are fed during the larva and pupa periods) and are followed with an iron discipline.

Integral creativity happens when there are limits, not rules imposed to creativity. In ants case, the limits are determined at birth, by their predetermined roles.

4. Ants’ yin-yang biology

An ant has a brain composed of 250,000 nerve cells, and the combined brains of a colony of 40,000 ants equate to a human brain (around 100 billion neurons). Ants have a pair of pliers to cut the solid food that they cannot swallow. This kind of food is then deposited in one of the colony’s ‘kitchens’. Decomposed food is then swallowed. The stomach has two rooms: An ant’s individual stomach (as in humans) – the egotistic, ‘masculine’ side of eating, and the ‘social stomach’ (in which food is stored for ‘donation’ to other ants) – the caring, ‘feminine’ side of eating.

Among other definitions, integral creativity happens when yin meets yang (in any biological form of manifestation). This is the ‘spark’ definition of creativity, as explained in The Leadership Spark. (Amazon link)

5. Ants’ 3 ways feedback type of communication

In addition, it has two eyes, which are, in turn, composed of several tiny eyes.

Ants use a sophisticated communication system to coordinate their specialized tasks.

A key form of communication among ants is a chemical signal called a pheromone (chemtrails). The roles of pheromones can be various: to alert neighbours of danger and to attract them to the place in question, to guide their peers for food and new places to nest, to mark their territory, to identify and nurture specialized young ants from the nest, to know whether a member of the colony died. Ants arranged in long rows follow these signals. For example, an ant which finds food is then followed by other ants which follow its chemtrail. When the food is gone, no traces are left by the returning ants, and the smell disappears with time.

Some ant species use sound to communicate. Some ants produce sounds by stridulation, using their segments and mandibles. Carpenter ants bang their heads rhythmically on the floors of the room, and leaf cutter ants emit sharp sounds if their nest collapses. These sounds will trigger the nest partners to find and save the ants caught in the trap.

Also, ants use touch, in particular, their antennas, to communicate. Ants which have discovered a large quantity of food can attract attention by hitting the other ants with their antennae, legs or heads.

But much of the work in an ant colony is done without direct communication. Ants are guided directly to the task itself. For example, the collapse of a route corridor will cause the ants to repair it without waiting for any instructions. An ability to respond directly to a task avoids attracting a large number of working ants for a task that takes only a few to accomplish.

Coordination, responsibility, autonomy – and not centralized command – are key to creativity and business innovation.






6. Conclusion

Ants’ organization is based on total cooperation (feminine aspect of nature), the coexistence of several adult generations together in a colony, a clear division of ‘work’ ( a masculine aspect of an organization) and a lack of hierarchy, replaced by eusociality.

Eusociality (their way of organizing) has led this insect species to survive for more than 200 million years on Earth without discontinuities and despite changing climate conditions. The evolutionary history of this species is similar to that of man, a continuous series of creative adaptations to the environment, spread across a huge length of time (from the point of view of human life) but on a tiny cosmic scale. Ants are the top species in the order of invertebrates, just as men are to vertebrates because one of the main laws of nature’s organization on Earth is that the most complex species (eusocial ones) are the ones that dominate the planet by their number.


III. Swarm A.I. and Integral Creativity

All the rules of integral creativity are at play here:

  • Individual autonomy (UL),
  • Collective working (LL),
  • A clear understanding (by genetics) of the overarching ‘why do we live on Earth?’ (LR)
  • Unconscious genetically set roles ants receive at birth (UR).

image integral definition of innovation

This no-consciousness invertebrates species has prospered through permanent adaptations (creativity) for more than 200 million years, uninterruptedly, completely integrated with this planet’s life. During the last years, we, the conscious human species, have adapted some of our processes and been inspired by ants, in aeronautics, transportation, the launching of satellites and so on.

What would mean for humans leadership style, the way of running businesses, the way of solving education, health and food global problems to ‘borrow’ the swarm intelligence of ants? What if, instead of swarming for Jeff’s spending fortune issue, Unanimous A.I. would use its A.I. platform to solve this planet’s biggest issues?


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George Bragadireanu

George Bragadireanu