Flocking

J.B. gave a preview this morning of his yet to be published paper on network autonomous optimization. I attended the session with some of our I.T. staff, but see implications beyond what I think they were considering. 

The analogy he made was to flocking birds, or schooling fish.  Each individual in the group makes a series of simple, almost automatic decisions about how to swim, and the net result is the safety and efficiency of schooling or flocking. 

He had several examples of bits of code directing data packets through a network.  The packets don't flow through air or water, of course, but they do travel across bandwidth and even possibly across electromagnetic spectrum. I know the I.T. guys were thinking about efficiency, but I'm still thinking about the security aspect. 

What if encrypted data packets scattered in a network could make decisions to evade detection, and assemble only in the presence of a correct cryptographic key?  Simple instructions could mimic sophisticated "intelligent" behavior.  Secure TOR and onion routing used today relies on three pre-planned hops.  Flock routing could release a message scattered through thousands of pathways, unknown even to the sender, and re-build themselves only where they are programmed to swim. 

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