They call it “the anternet.”
In 2012, Stanford biologist Deborah Gordon, Ph.D., discovered that the behavior of harvester ant colonies mirrors the fundamental Internet technology known as Transmission Control Protocol, or TCP.
TCP controls the flow of information online by preventing data transmission bottlenecks and the Internet from coming to a mighty, screeching halt. Basically, when fewer people are online, information return is faster. When more people are online, it slows.
Upon observing the scavenging habits of harvester ants, Gordon found that ant colonies are controlled by the same concept. After discovering a large supply of food, more ants leave the colony. When food is scarce, the number of foragers is restricted.
In his New York Times bestseller, Breakpoint, author Jeff Stibel reflects upon the similarities between the Internet and biological networks like ant colonies to make predictions about the future of social networks like Facebook.