April 23rd, 2007
I recently read an article on Bees and hive-mind intelligence. About
how "a colony of individuals, operating according to simple rules, can
exhibit an intelligence, problem solving ability and even memory that
is beyond the limits of any of the individuals themselves."
You can read the full article here
The article talks about how neurons are to a person’s mind as bees are to the "hive-mind" intelligence that forms when bees form a working colony. Ants colonies are also referenced as an example, how they sniff out pheromone trails and calculate the shortest distance to food supplies, avoid dangers, etc. The author explains that certain internet websites are now using this "hive-mind" logic to serve up news stories, for example, to their communities of readers, while the readers vote on stories they read pushing that content higher up on the popularity list – sort of a self reinforcing act of
One central point the author makes is that these self-reinforcing hive-mind communities actually sway the opinions of their members by force feeding them the popular content that everyone else finds popular. An interesting example of a music downloading service is given to illustrate this finding.
What the author doesn’t write about, something I find very interesting, is that the search engines themselves, such as Google Yahoo! and MSN, all use this "hive-mind" intelligence to push popular website links to the top of their search engine listings. So there
are four things at work here:
1.) Popular websites are pushed to the top of search engine rankings positions (SERPs) via a "hive-mind" community (you and me and everyone else using the internet).
2.) People are swayed into finding/using/making those already popular websites at the top of the SERPs even more popular, (i.e. linking and referencing the content)
3.) Your opinion about what is popular is "formed" by what is popular at the top of the SERPs, because lets face it, you’re more likely to go with a first page listing than number 47 on page 5.
4.) As a result of the 3 above, your consumer spending and behavior is being quietly controlled: who to click on, where to go for information and ultimately where to spend your money.
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