Smart Swarm: Using Animal Behaviour to Organise Our World

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9780007279906: Smart Swarm: Using Animal Behaviour to Organise Our World

How Understanding Flocks, Schools and Colonies Can Make Us Better at Communicating, Decision Making and Getting Things Done.

The modern world may be obsessed with speed and productivity, but twenty-first century humans actually have much to learn from the ancient instincts of swarms. A fascinating new take on the concept of collective intelligence and its colourful manifestations in some of our most complex problems, Smart Swarm introduces a compelling new understanding of the real experts on solving our own complex problems relating to such topics as business, politics, and technology.

Based on extensive globe-trotting research, this lively tour from National Geographic reporter Peter Miller introduces thriving throngs of ant colonies, which have inspired computer programs for streamlining factory processes, telephone networks, and truck routes; termites, used in recent studies for climate-control solutions; schools of fish, on which the U.S. military modelled a team of robots; and many other examples of the wisdom to be gleaned about the behaviour of crowds-among critters and corporations alike.

In the tradition of James Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds and the innovative works of Malcolm Gladwell, Smart Swarm is an entertaining yet enlightening look at small-scale phenomena with big implications for us all.

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Review:

‘Smart Swarm blends zoology, entertaining anecdotes and conceptual discussion in an approachable and insightful way.’ – New Scientist

‘‘Smart Swarm blends zoology, entertaining anecdotes and conceptual discussion in an approachable and insightful way.’ – New Scientist

‘There have been other recent books about swarm intelligence, and the wisdom of crowds, but Miller's book is the sharpest, most readably intelligent guided tour of current thinking and research about collective intelligence and nature's basic collaborations.’ – Iain Finlayson, The Times

‘Peter Miller gives us a lively account of how studying the collective habits, actions and instincts of animals in the wild means that we can apply these strategies to organising and communicating in our own world. – The Times, Eureka

‘I loved The Smart Swarm. It's been a while since I was this stimulated by a book, or saw so many practical applications. And what a great read' – Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics

There have been other recent books about swarm intelligence, and the wisdom of crowds, but Miller's exploration of the insect hive mind is fascinating enough, but his real interest is in the way humans can harness this phenomenon to structure businesses.’ – BBC Focus

‘It all makes for a fascinating read, not least for the insight Miller provides into the arcane workings of the animal kingdom. The book also raises interesting questions about our own behaviour and what it takes for us to work for a common goal.’ – BA Business Life

About the Author:

Peter Miller has been a writer and senior editor at National Geographic for over twenty-five years. He lives with his wife PJ in Reston, Virginia.

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