Particle swarm optimization is a mathematical/algorithmic mechanism that is used in science to simulate something which resembles the act of bees' or other insects' co-operation. Swarms do work. Particle swarms can also be used to describe the animation done for a computer rendered film. Swarm members obey simple rules - this is what makes them so enticing.
There are a lot of swarming in the everyday life. Many times a marketplace is like honey being put on a show: people are swarming around goods, they're inspecting the "flowers and honey" - and most of the time rejecting buy impulses. Then something perfect comes along, and one buys it.
I started to think about macroscopic and traditional logistics. This is presented to us in the everyday life, not perhaps so evidently but in the background scenes of shops and a lot of any production chain. Goods are transported en masse via railways, seas, or on the roads. The macroscopic logistic is a rigorous science with its paradigms and formulas.
Now imagine that logistics could be augmented or revolutionized by altering the size of an effective transport unit. Instead of large and generally slow transport, we could have small and very fast "transpods", cargo holders that would somehow travel to the right place, just like those vacuum pipes make medicine easily available to pharmacist clerks. I don't know how far-fetched the idea currently is. Logistics has indeed benefited humankind, but in the microscopic level the individuals have been losers, and the big shopping chains have been the winners. It's us, people, that move - not the goods. The last mile is still our responsibility. Parking lots, periodic rush hours, undulation of movement, crashes, swearing, waiting, queues, all that nitty gritty of shopping - it's the dark side of mass production.
Economics is the science of measuring the large: big companies' efficiency, indeces that are important to the CEO/CFO and investors; economics also does a lot of research into things like countries' GDP and a billion other things. It can be both normative and descriptive. Economics and macroscopic finance dictate what is sane; what to produce, how, to whom, how to handle the distribution, etc. It's a golden science in that some details can indeed be ruled out, and still economists approximately know what will happen.
What I'm interested in, very deeply, is how to make a dream come true. I'm a very hedonistic person in some ways. I like to concentrate on things that I love; thinking, writing, enjoying the day, not the kind of person who likes to be interrupted a hundred times an hour. The society as it is now doesn't yet quite allow me to indulge in the life style that I'd like to - what lacks is an efficient system of transporting bought goods right down to one's home door. We're close, we're very close. The exterior conditions exist for this near-perfect logistics. We got computers, Internet, electronic commerce, and all that. But tying these together into a really well serving coherent whole is still to be done.
Looking forward to improving this page along with the ideas.
- Book Review: The Smart Swarm (businesspundit.com)