Around 2005 a whole new concept called Swarm Intelligence started to become a practical reality. The academic theory was that people actually acted like birds and fish in conditions where there was no distinct leadership, plan of action or coherent chain of command.
Consider that the Intelligence Community had been working for 60 years with two distinct points of reference, Adolf Hitler and the Soviet President. The rest were minor players compared to the main threat. ( I lump Japan in with Hitler).
After 9/11 it became apparent that the model of a distinct leader sending down orders through a clear chain of command just didn't work anymore. Decision making was decentralized, and often groups, or teams came together, dispersed, and reformed with a different physical composition. Al Qaeda being a good example.
In a completely separate discipline, back in 1995 researchers had come up with a startling discovery, that swarming occurs in animals, fish and birds. The most visible being the"swarming" of the flocks of birds, turning, reforming, turning and moving to where the swarm wants to go, with no leader, instructions or chain of command giving orders or deciding on direction.
The research on human interaction was encouraged by the Intelligence Community desperate to understand terrorist organizations, who operate along swarming lines. But during the extensive research it became obvious that other areas could learn from swarm intelligence, politics, sales, telecommunications, energy, and many more. In 2009 the fruits of many years research are turning into products that will revolutionize the efficiency of decision making, and allocation of resources.
Nowhere is more impressed by the results of Swarm Intelligence software than the media, for the visual representation of the global media, especially the millions of local and personal "Blogs" bring a whole new paradigm to what is regarded as "News" by the public. It is not news because some Editor thinks it should be, it is news because that is what the readers want, and search for.
The same software that can search for patterns in communication can listen to the "Whisper of the Crowds" with their opinions, perceptions and observations of branded attractions, services and products. If a brand is working the whisper shows positive trends. If not working negatives, or nothing if there is apathy. A useful and still developing metric.
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