the collective intelligence...or death circle...of delicious

For discussions of the Open University's T214 Systems course.

the collective intelligence...or death circle...of delicious

Postby Andrea on Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:51 pm

As many of you know, at this time of year T214 students are in the middle of engaging with the http://delicious.com/ activity, and it's always fascinating to see the emergence of tagging patterns within the cohort. For example, if you enter "T214" within the search box, you'll see the most popular sites that have been tagged with "T214". Quite a few students have tagged Systemsplace -- in fact, the chart shows a significantly greater blip compared to last year. Makes me wonder whether this cohort is developing a greater "collective intelligence"? It's no coincidence that one of the most popular sites is all to do with disruptive innovation ;) but I wonder whether some of the tags aren't the social manifestation of the ant death circle :?

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esse sequitur operari
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Re: the collective intelligence...or death circle...of delicious

Postby Teiana on Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:55 pm

wassan 'ant-death-circle'?
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Re: the collective intelligence...or death circle...of delicious

Postby Andrea on Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:12 pm

Teiana wrote:wassan 'ant-death-circle'?

It's the best example of the dangers of "group think" that I have ever come across: http://theantroom.blogspot.com/2006/11/ ... piral.html
esse sequitur operari
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Re: the collective intelligence...or death circle...of delicious

Postby Teiana on Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:23 pm

oh. and here's me thinking it might be some macabre experiment involving a plank of wood, some ant food and a large pot of spreadable glue.
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Re: the collective intelligence...or death circle...of delicious

Postby Teiana on Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:25 pm

anyway that thing says 'they will continue to circle each other until they all die.'

why?
surely the last ant might be smart enough to make a break for it. He's got nobody to follow any more.
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Re: the collective intelligence...or death circle...of delicious

Postby Andrea on Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:00 pm

Teiana wrote:anyway that thing says 'they will continue to circle each other until they all die.'

why?
surely the last ant might be smart enough to make a break for it. He's got nobody to follow any more.


It's the scent previously laid down by other ants that the last ant will be following -- very apt for delicious tags laid down by previous T214 cohorts ;)

But the death circle doesn't always result in the extermination of the whole ant colony -- some "rogue" ants do sometimes take the initiative, breakout and lay a new scent trail out of the death circle, thus allowing other ants a way out...........

The key lesson here is to allow agents within complex adaptive systems enough autonomy to experiment with novel behaviours.
esse sequitur operari
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Re: the collective intelligence...or death circle...of delicious

Postby jim_lewis1 on Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:37 pm

I wish I could remember the reference, but rather than 'complex adaptive systems' having the upper hand, the point was made that a bee and a fly trapped in a bottle will exhibit different behaviours.

The supposedly more intelligent bee, with a wide variety of intentional responses will nevertheless continue to attempt to fly out the closed end, towards the light of freedom.

The dumb fly by comparison will fly hither and thither in a random mindless way, but as a result will eventually find its way out of the small aperture of the bottle.

Smarter isn't always an advantage.
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