Subsequently, innovators can rectify the infrastructuralchallenges of our society by applying natural computing through the process ofemergence.
Put simply, emergence is a phenomenon of complexityarising from simplicity, where the interactions between lesser entities constitute greater entities in a such a waythat the whole forms new collective properties and behaviours that are notexpressed by the sum of its parts (Bar-Yam). For instance, individual antscan’t accomplish anything by themselves, however, when grouped into a colony,they form collective movements that preventtheir foraging trails from becoming congested. Dr. Audrey Dussutour, aresearcher at the Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition Animale in Toulouse, explains,”individual behaviours can be optimizedto serve a collective good – and what this could mean for our future roadnetworks and intelligent transport systems” (“The mechanics of traffic:bringing ants to the picnic”).
In other words, civil engineers can solvetraffic congestion and minimize vehicle accidents by building a collectivelyself-organized transportation network similar to ant trails. Thus, theapplication of collective behaviours ofant colonies can revolutionize urban transportation infrastructure by improvingits speed, efficiency, and safety. Inaddition, in order to counter Zimbabwe’s hot climate, Mick Pearce, anarchitect, designed the shopping center and office building Eastgate Centre based on collectivelybuilt and self-regulating “termite mounds that maintained stable internalclimates by having a physical structure that enables passive internal airflow” (“EastgateCentre”). By modeling his design after self-organizingand self-maintaining structures, such as the termite mound, thearchitect was able to keep energy costs down and eliminated the need fortraditional air-conditioning systems.
As a result, Pearce’s building, designedon the emergent property of thermoregulation, is another example that validatesthe profitability of incorporating emergence into our designs as it addressesthe issue of architectural design in urban planning. Analogously, Swarm Logic™ is a wireless power controller”based on the way that bees and other social insects communicate and coordinatewith each other using simple rules governing individual interactions” thatseeks to minimize electricity consumption by “enabling electrical appliancesthem to communicate among themselves autonomously” (“Swarm Logic technologyreduces energy use”). The newly established communication network gives rise toemergent behaviourism that allows the appliances to independently regulate theirrespective energy usage in accordance withthe collective demand. Therefore, SwarmLogic’s embodiment of emergent testifies its practicality as it rectifiesurban power distribution.
Thus, by providing simple yet sophisticated models,emergence inspires designers to adopt natural computing into their workflow asit enables them to remedy poorly devised infrastructures from a different angleand conquer urban sprawl.