Fish school. Birds flock. Bees swarm. A combination of real-time, biological systems blends knowledge, wisdom, opinions and intuition to unify intelligence. There\u2019s no central control unit. These simple agents interact locally, within their environment, and new behaviors emerge.\nSwarm intelligence is the self-organization of systems for collective decentralized behavior. Swarm intelligence enables groups to converge and create an independent organism that can do things that individuals can\u2019t do on their own.\nWhy can\u2019t humans swarm? Fish detect ripples in the water. Birds use motion detected through the flock. Ants leverage chemical traces. Until recently, there\u2019s been little research conducted on \u201chuman swarming.\u201d If nature can work together, why can\u2019t humans use similar decision spaces to arrive at a preferred solution? Will the next generation of breakthrough innovation stem from the wisdom of the crowd \u2014 swarm intelligence?\nWhether we\u2019re talking about nature, humans or robots, swarm intelligence creates a virtual platform to enable distributed engagement from system users. Through this engagement, feedback can be provided in a closed-loop, swarming process.\nIndividual force for unified objectives\nSwarm intelligence draws from biologically inspired algorithms to enhance robotics and mechatronics. Evolutionary optimization is more than ant-colony optimization algorithms (ACO), bee-colony optimization algorithms (BCO) or particle-swarm optimization (PSO). Swarm intelligence can be applied to immune systems, computer vision, navigation, mapping, image processing, artificial neural networks and robotic motion planning.\nBio-inspired systems bring new intelligence to the design of robotics and are used in aerial flying robots, robotic manipulators and underwater vehicles.\nThe physical, biological and digital worlds benefit immensely by learning from nature. These bio-inspired applications are creating swarm algorithms empowering a newly discovered digital autonomy.\nAnts and distributed systems\nTechnology-based distributed systems are collections of independent computers that appear to work as a unified, coherent system. This same effect is found in swarms. The common element is that control is distributed across individuals or entities and communication isn\u2019t localized.\nWhy is Bitcoin so fascinating to us? Could it be that the Bitcoin network is a self-organizing, collective intelligence similar to that mesmerizing school of fish?\nThe collective intelligence, or COIN, framework was first introduced in a paper published in 2000 by John Lawson and David Wolpert of NASA's Ames Research Center.\nThis framework helped identify \u2014 using similar system attributes \u2014 where collective intelligence might exist.\n\nMulti-agent system.\nNo central operator.\nNo centralized communication.\nUnified utility function.\nAgents run reinforcement learning algorithms for validation.\n\nBitcoin is a large version of a multi-agent, reinforcement learning system. The same challenge injected into swarms is inherent in Bitcoin: How are rewards to individuals, agents or entities assigned? The social aspects of swarms are both simple and complex. Group behavior emerges as more significant than individual actions \u2014 complexity out of simplicity.\nSwarms can solve more than just static problems. Units interact in localized ways and can solve online, offline, stationary, time-varying, centralized, distributed and dynamic problems.\nHow does a swarm live? How does a swarm communicate? A unique \u201clife\u201d takes shape when a swarm forms, and it has everything to do with spatial intelligence. When observing swarms, we start to notice certain principles:\n\nWork division\nCollective behaviors\nNavigation\nCommunication\nSelf-organization\n\nSocial survival\nDinosaurs weren\u2019t social. Ants\u00a0are social, and they have outlasted dinosaurs and are able to survive in a range of environments and climates. How do ants build their nests? How do ants navigate? Why can ants locate food fast? There\u2019s a one-word explanation: sociality.\nThe key to human survival isn\u2019t having sophisticated intelligent robots that will floss your teeth while you\u2019re in the shower. The secret is sociality. We must build social systems when we design intelligent systems. There are many examples of nature\u2019s social systems we can draw from:\n\nAn implausibility of wildebeest: They move through rivers in sheer numbers to avoid crocodiles.\nA rabble of butterflies: Monarch butterflies migrate to escape the cold North American winters.\nA rookery of penguins: Emperor penguins converge in a huddle to stay protected from the Antarctic winters.\nA business of mayflies: Use swarms of 8,000 to attack predators in volume.\nA plague of locusts: Synchronize their wing beats to make travel more efficient.\nA shoal of fish: Silver carp leap into the air as a unit to avoid predators.\nA pod of dolphins: Superpods of dolphins, which can exceed 1,000 individuals, form a pod for protection and hunting.\nA flight of birds: Budgerigars, a type of parakeet, assemble to act as a unit to make decisions, fend off predator attacks and find food.\nA cloud of bats: a social vortex of bats forms for communication and to make decisions on foraging.\n\nNature\u2019s progression and technology\u2019s evolution are amplified with social systems. The end of social abnormalities may be the introduction of swarm intelligence.\nIs there a better way to build super-intelligence?\nLet\u2019s collect lessons from nature, insights from humans and the unified benefits of intelligent systems and create something smarter than ourselves. These intelligent systems \u2014 things smarter than ourselves \u2014 appear to think and act. The algorithms, robotics and systems are only a piece of the system we\u2019ll create. Instead of creating and designing complete intelligence systems, maybe we should apply simple rules to form collections of behaviors or swarms.\nThese swarms could respond by connecting real-time human insights into more intelligent systems with morals, values, emotions and empathy. Swarm intelligence won\u2019t be something you watch on a Ted Talk. Swarm intelligence is going to be a feeling that transcends nature through a collision of the digital and physical worlds.\nTomorrow\u2019s systems will be designed with swarm intelligence and spatial judgment.