The idea that ants are mindless drones just got a bit more complicated:
“Although self-organized systems appear very effective under the assumption that all individuals follow the same simple set of rules, the presence of key, well-informed individuals altering their behavior according to their prior experience might generally enhance performance even further,” wrote biologists from the University of Bristol and the University of Toulouse in an Aug. 24 Journal of Experimental Biology paper.
– Pioneering Ants Challenge Self-Organization Assumptions | Wired Science | Wired.com.
From BBC News, a fascinating discussion of the dangers and prospects of the pervasive use of algorithms in everyday life:
Behind every smart web service is some even smarter web code. From the web retailers – calculating what books and films we might be interested in, to Facebook’s friend finding and image tagging services, to the search engines that guide us around the net.
Particularly disconcerting is the use of algorithms in financial markets, powering high-speed trading as well as in producing cultural products like movies and music.