Thinking about colonies and ants and the web…
I was reading Ant colony based hybrid optimization for data clustering, by Amarendra Nath Sinha and started thinking about ants and web and stuff…
A lonely ant is a very fragile being. Their power, just like us, lies in communicative action. I use the term communicative action very loosely, this because in ant colonies there isn’t much argumentative deliberating… there is doing with a greater purpose: the survival of the colony.
No real future
I never did like the term colony. I was born in one, Angola. A colony puts itself in an ideological position where the world out there is brutal and savage, and peace can only be found within the colony or by mimicking the colony’s precepts.
Just like ant hills, colonies have no real future in themselves. They are a transient state, bound to fail, only to see some of its members survive and create a new colony. To me they have always felt like a vehicle for a sort of semi-protected evolution, one where users don’t have to mingle with the harsh nature which surrounds us all.
Web 2.0 when it first came about felt like a colony
It had its own aesthetics, ideology, usability rules, business logic… It felt like a bunch a people chanting a mantra in some distant shore, “if you obey it you will thrive amongst us” kind of thing. And the colony shall prosper and take over Adobe Flash territory with their awful intros, M.I.A.s website… It felt like everyone was building applications like boats, all alike, all sailing towards the same colony.
Colonies and the web
Colonies are a very physical reality. An ant colony has its nest from which the workers depart in search of food. When doing so they create trails of pheromones. Upon reaching food they return via the same trail reinforcing it as a good trail that others should follow. The more go down that trail, the stronger the pheromone scent, the faster the food is carried back to the nest. A mix of positive and negative feedback to regulate behaviour. These are groups of individuals who survive by plundering what lies beyond their borders.
Hyperlinked reality is not very trail friendly. Folks just beam themselves into a location, period. Via, @someone… that’s how we identify trails, references… but we are really just interested in the goodies.
Google, Facebook… big colony regulators need trails, need to understand where we come from, what we consider good food. They need to because we have become their commodities. As we share parts of ourselves with one another in hyperlinked trails of fainting serendipity, Google is checking our cookies, just like ants in a pic-nic.
Ants don’t eat the leafs and bugs they hunt, they just gather these so as to grow fungi which they then feed on. They don’t consume their experiences, their interest is the byproduct of the experience.
We are all broadcasting. Broadcasting to each other. I started this thought process with colonies, and little ants collecting food, and in the process realised we have grown to somehow produce our own food and relish in it. We package pieces of ourselves.
A great part of the Web 2.0 colonies I alluded to in the beginning have mostly become tin factories. They allow us to package our experiences if we use their services. But unlike ants we are not using those experiences to harvest something more essential, we are just eating from the tin.
If we were ants what would we do with the experiences we gather, what could we harvest with those? As experiential beings, if we were to bury our packaged experiences could we source some essential liquid? Yes, it sounds a little crazy but there is something in this and it goes beyond data mining.
So we are becoming more aware of goodie sources via our social networks, but are we working for a colony? Is the colony our primary social network and do we gain social capital when we find food for it? Or has it become the case where if we don’t bring back food, to everyone else we stop existing?
We do want more of our friends to find that food source we have found… Other ants who follow other ants… if we follow the right ant we are more likely to stumble upon a nice goodie. Is this true? What if an ant were to follow an elephant? It would be bound to discover something far more interesting and therefore more likely to become a social broadcaster rather than a mere follower.
In an ant world it’s simple, any ant that finds a good food source starts a broadcast chain reaction as she wanders into the colony dragging a part of a rodent carcass, in effect the chain reaction is started at the point of contact with the dead rodent or shortly thereafter. In human terms this also holds true but because our social networks are much more heterogenous (different tastes) the likelihood of people re-broadcasting what I am holding is much lower, unless obviously it’s a dead rodent.
So many people so many skills
Sometimes when I’m working in a public space, a look around and there are a bunch of people doing the same. Then I find myself wondering what do they do? Are they photographers, bloggers, coders, designers, what do they do? If they knew that i’m a designer and if I knew their skills, would it […]
Icons icons icons
Hi I’m Davi, Visual Designer at Kwamecorp London. Summer is in town. Everyone is on holidays. With a couple of free days and way to many ice creams, I decided to work on some new icons for our website. Some of them were quite tricky to come up with (difficult metaphors), but I had […]
Going above and beyond Hard cash – what is your Personal currency?
Kwamecorp has been mulling over the idea of ‘Personal currency’ for over the past year and a half. Having already created a Bitcoin wallet (it was only natural), we wondered what it would be like to have a currency that people can label as ‘mine’. Like countries do for their own territorial currencies such as; […]
Apple’s new language, Swift, is like iECMAScript on steroids
There’s a new kid in town. Making a connection flight in my way to San Francisco I rushed for the internet. I was sure that this was going to be a day packed with news from the Cupertino guys and aimed specially at developers. New OS for desktop and for mobile: check! Improved APIs: check! […]
Liters of light
A man sat down next to me and we were both given a Korean bento box. He looked at me and spoke in portuguese, so long as there is meat and rice, I’ll be ok. Them chopsticks are a bit awkward, but oh well, it’s a different world over here, isn’t it? I looked at […]
Use By: yes, we are literally baking furniture
In the basement of our London studio Yayo cooks up the most magical of materials. It smells like childhood in the countryside. Dust particles of deliciousness float in the air. We’ve been asked if the setup is from a missing breaking bad episode. Yayo googles Breaking Bad. No it’s from a baking bread episode!
Surfacing brand values
How can a Brand Identity adapt to its core values? Below you’ll see how our logo mutates into a “Kwamecorp surfer” in tribute to our “small” tribe of in house surfers.
No dreamer without a champion
What is dream:st? dream:st is a new global, online program that connects a young, ambitious dreamer (who is dreaming audacious dreams in the absence of much support) and a champion (who can help support the realization of that dream). The dreamer and the champion may have nothing else in common other than a common dream. […]
Always take white post-its with you. Here is why.
The other day on my regular flight from SF to London I was thinking about impossible.com, wishing trees… and how the service needs to start contaminating environments where giving/sharing could really catch on rapidly. Lets start with post-its and a toilet at 35,000 feet.
Do you like it? It’s all about process. Want to see how we cook?
This is how labour intensive a logo is at kwamecorp. Davi opens up the process from sketching to final art. The goal was to come up with a visual identity for a drawing messenger app. Feedback is appreciated, but in all honesty, it’s good and we know it.
Slow shopping. Impossible?
How do we slow down shopping and make it more human centric? How do we stop having to stare at the googles and amazons of this world whenever we want to shop online? How do we get smaller shops to bid for shoppers’ requests? Right now the shopping paradigm is search based and seller lead. […]
Our Slideshow Kit — Free for you to use!
Today we are happy to share with the world our very own Slideshow kit, born from the talented hands of our own Davi Campos. It’s our way to give back to those who unknowingly helped us when we were strapped for time, with a deadline or a surprise presentation at the door. All illustrations are […]
Captain Paul shows us his south pacific chart. The sea is a wonderful mirror for the soul he says. We sat around the table and opened a chart of the south pacific. He ran his fingers through the course he once braved in the waves, all the way from Tahiti to Hawaii. What magical times he […]
Blinking creatures and printers for our dreams
Neuro-imaging always conjured up the same metaphor: If you were to hang a microphone over Beijing you would hear different things but you would not learn Chinese.
End of cannibalism and the drive towards communities
Purpose cannot come from within technology. The reason is obviously simple: If for a moment you imagine that machines have a will of their own, their will will be to breed more machines. All objects of creation are instilled with a fear of death and a drive to survive and multiply. Stepping back and getting […]
Wearables. We are able.
Wearables is a new space that we have been exploring for a while now with great passion @kwamecorp. Our goal is to empower services and ultimately users with a new set of tools to navigate this planet and connect with ones environment and each other in novel and exciting ways. In doing so we ask ourselves many questions out of which two are specially pertinent at this moment.
Flávia Amadeu — amazonian rubber goddess
Flávia came into the studio and told us all about wild rubber production in the Amazon. The cool thing is we, just like everyone that uses amazonian wild rubber, is helping communities protect the amazon rain forrest. We can’t wait to get started with production!