There are many information-processing problems that can only be solved by the joint action of large communities of computers each running a sophisticated machine learning algorithm, where those algorithms are not subject to centralized, global control. Examples are routing of air traffic, control of swarms of spacecraft, routing of packets across the internet, and communication between the multiple processors in a modern computer. There are also many instances of natural systems that address such problems. Examples here are ecosystems, economies, the organelles within a living cell.Thoughts: The capacity for a centralized system to solve widespread complex problems such as the distribution of wealth or the creation and propogation of ideas is very limited indeed. These things require continually new and improved systems that promote "collective intelligence". While ebay and google have proven centralized means are possible for the selling of physical goods or finding of ideas (ideas as expressed in words) perhaps a marketplace to promote the creation of propogation of ideas (intellectual property) as expressed in rich media (video, image, music) can only be created through a collective intelligence system like a wiki or P2P?
Such problems can be addressed with the emerging science of ``COllective INtelligence'' (COIN), which is concerned with the design of a multi-agent system where:
- Agents are ``selfish'' in that they act to try to
optimize their own utilities, without explicit regard to cooperation
with other agents.
- There is a well-specified global objective, and we are confronted with the inverse problem of how to configure the system to achieve that objective.
Read more: Collective Intelligence