If complex systems science had a mascot, it might be the murmuration. These enormous flocks of starlings darken skies across the northern hemisphere, performing intricate airborne maneuvers with no central leadership or plan. Each bird behaves according to a simple set of rules about how closely it tracks neighbors, resulting in one of the world’s most awesome natural spectacles.
This notion of self-organizing flocks of relatively simple agents has inspired a new paradigm of engineering, building simple, flexible, adaptive swarms that stand to revolutionize the way we practice medicine, map ecosystems, and extend our public infrastructure. We’re living at the dawn of the age of the robot swarm – and these metal murmurations help us create communications networks, fight cancer, and evolve to solve new problems for an age that challenges the isolated strategies of individuals.
This week’s guest is Sabine Hauert, Assistant Professor in Robotics at the University of Bristol and President/Co-founder of robohub.org, a non-profit dedicated to connecting the robotics community to the world. In this episode, we talk about how swarms have changed the way we think about intelligence, and how we build technologies for everything from drug delivery to home construction.
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Hauert Lab Website.
Sabine at Nature on the ethics of artificial intelligence.
Sabine's 2019 SFI Community Lecture.
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