Technology’s flight of nature … how the potential of network-based business lies in the beauty of the starling murmuration

November 16, 2018

What is the best explanation of the blockchain?

What is the fundamental behaviour many of the new technologies, that harness the power of networks, that facilitate the strength of collective intelligence, through more collaborative and intuitive approaches.

From the ability of social media to shape political landscapes and new #MeToo-type consciousness, to the power of Artificial Intelligence’s potential to predict futures, and ecosystems to reshape markets, there is a new phenomenon shaping our world.

Maybe the best way to describe it is to look at nature.

In particular in the spectacular sight of a “murmuration” of starlings as I recently witnessed over the Northumbrian coast at Druridge Bay. It is a spectacular act of nature, but also a great insight, to today’s world of technology and business:

A murmuration of starlings is an amazing sight – a swooping mass of thousands of birds whirling in the sky above. A mass aerial stunt – thousands of birds all swooping and diving in unison. It’s completely breathtaking to witness.

The RSPB say that starlings do it for many reasons. Grouping together offers safety in numbers – predators such as peregrine falcons find it hard to target one bird in the middle of a hypnotising flock of thousands.

They also gather to keep warm at night and to exchange information, such as good feeding areas. They gather over their roosting site, and perform their wheeling stunts before they roost for the night.

Autumn roosts usually begin to form in November, though this varies from site to site and some can begin as early as September.

More and more birds will flock together as the weeks go on, and the number of starlings in a roost can swell to around 100,000 in some places.

Early evening, just before dusk, is the best time to see them.

They mainly choose to roost in places which are sheltered from harsh weather and predators, such as woodlands, but reedbeds, cliffs, buildings and industrial structures are also used. During the day however, they form daytime roosts at exposed places such as treetops, where the birds have good all-round visibility.

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