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The Animal Intelligence Bundle: "Minds of Their Own" by Virginia Morell (March 2008) "Almost Human" by Mary Roach (April 2008) "The Genius of Swarms" by Peter Miller (July 2007) In "Minds of Their Own," Virginia Morell provides an overview of the science of animal intelligence. She introduces you to an African gray parrot named Alex, a bonobo named Kanzi, and a border collie named Betsy. Each of these animals tells us something interesting about the way they perceive and manipulate their world. The article also looks at what scientists are learning about the intelligence of dolphins and crows, beyond mere communication. In "Almost Human," Mary Roach takes us to the savannahs of Senegal to meet a group of 34 chimpanzees, whose behavior and social structures have given scientists some important clues about the nature of their communication and intelligence. In "The Genius of Swarms," Peter Miller looks at the collective behavior of ants, bees, and other insects for what they can tell us about social organization and how sometimes intelligence lies outside of the individual brain. This article served as the basis for his book, The Smart Swarm: How Understanding Flocks, Schools, and Colonies Can Make Us Better at Communicating, Decision Making, and Getting Things Done.
What ants, bees, fish, and smart swarms can teach about communication, organization, and decision-making. The modern world may be obsessed with speed and productivity, but twenty-first-century humans actually have much to learn from the ancient instincts of swarmers. A fascinating new take on collective intelligence and its colorful manifestations in some of our most complex problems, The Smart Swarm introduces a compelling new understanding on solving our own problems relating to such topics as business, politics, and technology. This lively tour from National Geographic reporter Peter Miller introduces ant colonies that have been the inspiration for streamlining factory processes, telephone networks, and truck routes; termites, used in studies for climate-control solutions; schools of fish, on which the U.S. military modeled a team of robots; and many other examples of the wisdom to be gleaned about the behavior of crowds.