Swarm Behavior - A single ant or bee isn't smart, but their colonies are. The study of swarm intelligence is providing insights that can help humans manage complex systems, from truck routing to military robots.
Decentralized problem solving works better on some problems than others. According to an article from SEO Theory, swarms work in situations that involve discovery, testing, and comparing results. For example, ants finding the most efficient route to food, or iPhone users who use their Yelp App to find the highest-rated restaurant close by. By leveraging the volume of agents involved, you can act upon complex and rapidly changing sets of data. This works in situations where you are looking for the most efficient method of execution, or the most optimal process. Shipping companies, for example, use Swarm Theory computer algorithms to reallocate trucking routes based on up-to-the-minute energy prices. Swarm Theory works less effectively for creative processes like innovation, except perhaps as a broad directional pointer. A Swarm cannot paint the next Mona Lisa.