Group intelligence – how people behave en masse | DW Documentary

Some animals only make smart decisions as a swarm, when they behave like a single organism. Efficient, target-oriented and dynamic. Can we humans crack the swarm code — and learn something from it?

When we humans form a large group, it unfortunately usually doesn’t mean we behave more intelligently. Frequently, the opposite is the case: just think of lynch mobs, traffic congestion, mass panic. Animal swarms, on the other hand, are made up of countless individuals that apparently all know what’s happening. Together they make good, successful decisions. Just think of a beehive or an ant colony, a flock of birds or a shoal of fish.

There are good reasons to try to find out what rules these groups are following: Perhaps it’ll help us to behave more intelligently en masse. Or, we could pass these rules on to swarms of robots, who could then do some of our work for us. In large-scale logistics hubs, that’s already a reality. Here, swarm robots transport packages and goods cheaply. “The orders and patterns of swarms are repeated in nature on many levels and have prevailed in the course of evolution,” says Dirk Brockmann, a scientist at the Robert Koch Institute. Could they also be a way to combat crises, conspiracy theories or the spread of pandemics?

#documentary #dwdocumentary #animals #intelligence #science

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