Posted by: grokscience | August 11, 2010

Smart Swarm

Swarm behavior is found throughout nature in ants, birds and even humans.  But, what is a smart swarm and how can we learn from them?  On this program, Peter Miller discussed the Smart Swarm with guest host, Dr. Elise Covic.

So much for Ayn Rand… 😉




  1. Who’s the new host? I thought she’s a guest host for only for one episode, but I heard her in two. Hearing female voice is so strange when there are 10000000 to 1 male to female ratio in my world.

    • The new host is Dr. Elise Covic. She may be filling in occasionally. We hope you enjoy her contribution to the program.

      • Her voice is certainly welcome. Her voice is much more soothing to me than Charles or Frank. Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast had a huge boost in ratings after they had a female voice in their show on regular basis. Maybe Dr. Covic and other intelligent females could be a regular voice on GSS.

  2. Just saw the wisecrack on Ayn Rand. Rational self interest is the only reason why the smart swarm would work. If the swarm is doing something stupid like killing themselves (as the government/unions/moochers/etc were doing in Atlas Shrugged), objectivist should be wise to get out of it. But if the swarm is thriving and growing, any objective objectivist (double objective?) would be a fool to not join in (also in Atlas Shrugged in the new collective).

    Simple example: at the end of the concert if everyone’s doing standing ovation and you choose to sit it out, you will be perceived as something negative by others. That affects your social standing blah blah, so a person of rational self interest would be wise to follow the swarm. This can be applied to any successful swarm since by definition unsuccessful swarm dies out.

    Another interesting bit: Interesting that Bonobos are going extinct while Chimps are not. Could it be that Bonobos lack the sense of rational self interest and should be extinct? If they’re going extinct with their behavior, humans should certainly learn not to follow their example, contrary to the speaker’s desire to have humans follow their behavior.

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