You would think that Google can merely predict the likelihood of you typing in ”Britney” + ”Collapse” or ”Obama” + ”Conspiracy”, but now scientists from Santa Fe Institute have gone step further and utilized Google algorithms to predict which animals and plants will most likely not survive due to lack of interaction in their particular ecosystems. Using the PageRank algorithm they simply combined the data:
When the researchers tested the Google algorithm against existing models for predicting ecosystem collapse, they found that the new solution outperformed the old ones in each of the 12 food webs they looked at. “In every case that we tested, the algorithm returned either the best possible solution, out of the billions of possibilities, or very close to it,” Allesina said. In this case, the “best possible solution” is the one that predicts total ecosystem collapse using the fewest number of species extinctions.
This is truly a fascinating moment to witness: A network of constructs for the Internet can now actually help us to create a model of how nature works. This brings our cultuiral artifacts closer to the so called Natural, and what is sometimes discussed as The Balance of Nature or Gaia Theory.