our brain is an energy-intensive, costly organ, whose storage capacities remain quite limited. That is why we continue to use stigmergy to support our memory and reasoning. Let us discuss a few examples. Whenever we have to do a complex job, such as repairing a bicycle, preparing a dinner, or filling out our tax forms, we tend to keep both the objects we work on, and the different tools and resources that support the work at hand, in such a way that they are easy to see and to manipulate.For example, while taking apart the bicycle we arrange all the screws and pieces in clear view, close to the screwdrivers or pincers we will need to put them back on, so that we are unlikely to forget what must be added when and where. Each tool or piece is a stimulus for performing a particular action. The perceived state of the bicycle is the condition that determines which action is to be performed next. If before we start we had to analyze, plan and memorize all the steps that need to be performed in taking apart, repairing, and then reassembling the bicycle, it is unlikely that we would ever succeed in this task. The arrangement of the physical components in space here plays the role of the activity’s trace, which constantly guides the stigmergic coordination of actions.
Ergonomic studies have shown that the spatial arrangement of a workplace is crucial to the efficient performance of work (Hollan et al., 2000; Kirsh, 1995, 1996). One obvious reason is that when tools are positioned near to where they are likely to be used, there will be less need for physical movement. However, stigmergy reminds us that good arrangement saves cognitive effort as well as physical effort, by connecting the right reminders to the right circumstances. For example, one of the reasons why “Post it” notes are popular is that they make it easy to spatially connect a cognitive “call for action” (challenge, stimulus, marker) with the physical resource needed to perform the action. Sticking a “Please photocopy!” note on a document, e.g., makes it obvious for anyone what needs to be passed through the copying machine.
“The evolution of cooperation “
“An example can be found in Wikipedia “edit wars” (Sumi, Yasseri, Rung, Kornai, and Kertész, 2011), in which two contributors who disagree about a particular statement in a Wikipedia article repeatedly undo each others’ corrections.
This does not prevent other contributors from elaborating the rest of the article (and the encyclopedia).
Often, the conflict tends to get resolved by a third party who proposes a compromise statement that the conflicting parties no longer object to.
Even without third party intervention, the conflict is unlikely to continue, either because the antagonists themselves chance upon a statement that is acceptable to both, or because one of them simply gives up repeating the same ineffectual action, and decides to focus on some more productive task.
From this stigmergic perspective, the emergence of cooperation between selfish individuals seems a much less daunting issue than from a traditional evolutionary or economic perspective (Axelrod, 1997)”
Hanging onto this: bye bye “prisoner’s dilemma” and “tragedy of the commons”
“From this stigmergic perspective, the emergence of cooperation between selfish individuals seems a much less daunting issue than from a traditional evolutionary or economic perspective (Axelrod, 1997)”