Superorganisms are hives of organisms that work together to function as a whole. The most notable cases are ants and bees, but other organisms work together as superorganisms as well. Superorganisms are fascinating due to the emergent intelligence that arises from the sum of unintelligent parts. We would not call one ant intelligent, yet a hive functioning together can complete remarkable feats, such as building a bridge or creating a complex social hierarchy.
The world of humans is moving towards a global superorganism. Telecommunications, cell phones and highway systems allow information to go from one side of the world to the other at the speed of light. Science fiction writer Maureen McHugh asked whether it would be "impossible to tell where humans end and machines begin". In a superorganism, individuals connect to a larger network which informs them of the needs of the collective. Humans and their technologies are allowing people to get closer to each other without the friction that geographical distance incurs. Cities are becoming colonies, and plane flights resemble global swarms.
- Maureen McHugh, quoted in Gray, Chris Hables, ed. The Cyborg Handbook. New York: Routledge, 1995. Pg. 13.
- Tráfico Aereo Mundial en 24 horas. Video by User:hangtheguille. Vimeo.com. Published Sep 29, 2008. Accessed Apr 2010. http://vimeo.com/1841049