We like to think human beings are pretty good engineers. After all, you can see the Great Wall of China from space. The Egyptian pyramids have astounded people for millennia. At night, different cities of the world put on a spectacular light show.
But humans are actually pretty late to the game of building complex physical structures when compared to the honeybee or the humble termite. They’ve been building hives and mounds of staggering complexity for millions of years.
What’s more, they do so without large brains. The brain of a honeybee is about the size of a grain of sand and contains roughly 1 million neurons compared to over 100 billion neurons in a human brain. So how do these tiny brained organisms cooperate to achieve designs of such depth, efficiency and dare we say, elegance?
Can human beings innovate better by emulating how nature does it? Bio-mimicry is a powerful concept. And like most powerful concepts, the trick is to know the boundaries where mimicry ends, and real innovation begins.
New AI research and companies are looking at the social behavior of insects, birds, fish and other species as a starting point for re-conceiving intelligent behavior at a macro-system level. Dr. Louis Rosenberg is CEO of Unanimous.AI, which has built a platform to cultivate similar principles and forces we find with social insects like honeybees. The Unanimous.ai system aims to help human beings take in noisy input about the world and use that data to make decisions, solve problems and form opinions about what to do next.