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Digital Swarms: Social Interaction and Emergent Phenomena in Personal Communications Networks

Digital Swarms: Social Interaction and Emergent Phenomena in Personal Communications Networks
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Author(s): Carlos M. Fernandes (University of Lisbon, Portugal) and Ivo Dias de Sousa (Universidade Aberta, Portugal)
Copyright: 2017
Pages: 16
Source title: Handbook of Research on Entrepreneurial Development and Innovation Within Smart Cities
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Luisa Cagica Carvalho (Universidade Aberta, Portugal & CEFAGE - Universidade de Évora, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1978-2.ch003

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Abstract

By converting a fixed network into a mobile system, personal communications technology radically transformed the way we interact with each other and with the environment. Recently, new generation mobile phones (known as smartphones) increased the capacity of the network nodes and added new properties to mobility, converting a once ordered system into a complex and perhaps adaptive network. In this paper, we argue that contemporary mobile phone networks are large-scale complex adaptive systems—with niches, hierarchy, recirculation of information, coevolutionary interactions, and sophisticated collective behavior—that display remarkable similarities with eusocial insects (ants, bees, wasps and termites). Under this framework, we will discuss the impact of personal communications networks in the urban life, without losing sight of the effects—either positive or negative—of the system's emergent patterns on the network itself and on the individual nodes (personal devices and users).

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