The Design for Maritime Singularity: Exploration of Human/AI Teaming and Organizational Carrying Capacity for the U.S. Navy

  • Matthew LargentEmail author
  • Garth Jensen
  • Rebecca Law
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Complexity book series (SPCOM)


The “Design for Maritime Singularity” was a crowdsourcing effort focused on two looming concerns that the U.S. Navy will have to address in the coming decades. The first concern deals with the concept of the technological singularity, where the premise is that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could rapidly expand in capability past human intelligence. This has been hypothesized by some to mean that the AI would leave humanity behind, possibly making humankind irrelevant. The second concern deals with organizational complexity, building off the argument made by Dr. Yaneer Bar-Yam that hierarchical organizations are limited in their ability to handle complexity by the carrying capacity of the small number of individuals who make decisions at the top. As the environment becomes more complex, hierarchical organizations like the U.S. Navy will find themselves in a state where their traditional construct could hinder their ability to process this complexity, thus limiting their effectiveness.

The authors, sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, created a study to explore these concerns using the collective intelligence platform mmowgli (Massively Multiplayer Online War Game Leveraging the Internet). Over a one-week timeframe players from all over the world collaborated, developing concepts that explored how the U.S. Navy could address the concerns. The themes that emerged from that event paint a picture of how the Navy might adjust so that it could ride the wave of technological change and increasing complexity instead of being swamped. This paper describes the mmowgli game, the themes that emerged from the game, and three more detailed concepts fleshed out in a follow-on workshop.


mmowgli Collective intelligence Artificial intelligence AI Wargame Singularity Human machine teaming Hierarchical organization Organizational complexity 


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SPAWAR Systems Center AtlanticN CharlestonUSA
  2. 2.NSWC Carderock DivisionWest BethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Naval Postgraduate School1 University CircleMontereyUSA

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