Blue Sky Paper 1
Disrupting the Coming Robot Stampedes: Designing Resilient Information Ecologies
1University of Maryland, Baltimore County, United States of America; 2ASRC Federal
Machines are designed to communicate widely and efficiently. Humans, less so. We evolved social structures that function best as small subgroups interacting within larger populations. Technology changes this dynamic, by allowing all individuals to be connected at the speed of light. A dense, tightly connected population can behave like a single agent. In animals, this happens in constrained areas where stampedes can easily form. Machines do not need these kinds of conditions. The very techniques used to design best-of-breed solutions may increase the risk of dangerous mass behaviors among homogeneous machines. In this paper we argue that ecologically-based design principles such as the presence of diversity are a broadly effective strategy to defend against unintended consequences at scale.