The Wisdom Of The Crowd

by Patrick Appel

John Seabrook has a new article on crowd disasters. He applies his findings to current events:

Scientists who study crowd disasters often explain them as failures of collective intelligence. Unlike ants, for example, we are unable to communicate across the swarm: the people in the back, pushing forward, don’t realize they are crushing the people in the front. But if we lack a strictly biological capacity for collective behavior, perhaps we do possess a collective political intelligence that in certain situations, such as the demonstrations in Egypt, amounts to the same thing.