The SEO project
Creating an example stigmergic system to demonstrate how biological strategies take effect
Stigmergic systems are based upon biological strategies that involve concepts quite alien to those usually encountered in computer technology. But, most people haven't the time to work through the theory to understand how they work...
... so, this project is about creating an example to look as much like a conventional computer application as possible, yet exhibit all the features that allow biological systems to evolve, self-organize and become increasingly efficient.
The example chosen is a system to produce an optimum information resource for "The search engine optimization of a web site".
This emerges from the combined efforts of a group of people sharing bookmarks. It looks naively simple, but this surface simplicity masks an underlying complexity that is the basis of every kind of biological evolution.
To fully appreciate this example, forget about the technical details of manipulating and sorting information. Think instead about the way people interact in a collaborative situation. Concentrate your mind on how the information content is likely to change over time. How people react to information. How redundant, inaccurate or irrelevant information is purged from the system.
By thinking out of the box, you will discover the real value of these biological techniques. It is not about algorithms or procedures, it is about creating a situation where organization and efficiency emerge spontaneously as a direct result of a group of people getting together to collaborate.
The more interesting applications of stigmergic systems are when many kempelen boxes are combined together into a single object oriented environment. It then become possible to create complex information processing systems that can coordinate multiple human inputs.
Each kempelen box is effectively a virtual database that holds categorized human inputs. By allowing these boxes to interact and exchange information, higher levels of organization can emerge spontaneously.
Solutions are not planned. They are designed to emerge.
This presents a problem, because the way biological systems work cannot be explained logically. They are fully explainable only in terms of arcane theories about dynamic complexity, where systems emerge, evolve and self-organize. The concepts involved are often counter-intuitive and conflict with commonsense.
To overcome the conceptual problems, it may be preferable to examine a self-organizing system in operation. The reality is far simpler to understand than the theory.