The wisdom of ants and bees: democracy and elections

It is a natural human trait to believe that we (the species) are the inventors of all clever things. Not so. One of the humbling things that biomimicry teaches us very quickly is that many times Mother Nature has beaten us to it! For example, take one of our proudest achievements: elections and democracy....


Uncle Sam wants your vote!

Voting: The wisdom of bees describes how Honeybees have been "voting" in single winner "elections" for 20-50 million years:

"They've held far more elections than humans, for a lot longer, and to decide something that mattered to each bee voter a lot more than most election winners matter to most human voters: where should we locate our new nest? With computers we can easily run millions of simulated elections, but even that number is dwarfed by the number of elections that bees have experienced, which exceeds hundreds of trillions.

Each spring, about half the inhabitants of each beehive leave with their queen to start a new hive, in a swarm usually containing between 2000 and 20000 bees. The most important decision they need to make is: where to build that new hive? They usually find about 20 different options within about 100 square kilometers, and about 90% of the time, the bee swarm succeeds in selecting (what appears to entomologists to be) the best one"


Voting: The wisdom of ants describes how Ants follow a very similar process.


So we didn't invent The Wisdom of Crowds either!


Many Thanks to Doug Philips for finding this gem!



About the Author

Ken Thompson is an expert practitioner in the area of bioteaming, swarming, virtual enterprise networks, virtual professional communities and virtual teams and has published two landmark books:

Bioteams: High Performance Teams Based on Nature's Best Designs

The Networked Enterprise: Competing for the future through Virtual Enterprise Networks

Ken writes the highly popular bioteams blog which has over 500 articles on all aspects of bioteams (aka organizational biomimicry) - in other words how human groups can learn from nature's best teams.

Ken is also founder of an exciting European technology company Swarmteams which provides unique patent-pending bioteaming technologies for all shapes and sizes of groups, social networks, business clusters, virtual/mobile communities and enterprises. Swarmteams enables groups to be more responsive and agile by fully integrating their mobile phones and the web with bioteam working techniques. The latest Swarmteams implementation is SwarmTribes which helps musicians and bands form a unique collaboration with their fans for mutual benefit.


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2 Comments

What a great post, thanks for reminding us :D
Thought you might enjoy my machinima film on the bees and permaculture
http://celestialelfdanceoflife.blogspot.com/
Bright Blessings
elf ~

Ken

Hi Elf - Thanks for sharing a great video - KEN

 


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