complicated coral growth

The nanobots used to all carry the same amount of resources to be as flexible as possible. When a particular resource was in high demand, the bots would form supply chains to bring extra from a pooled supply somewhere. A particularly fascinating optimization to this system arose when researchers experimented with varying resource loads. The systems were sensitive and chaotic at first, but every now and then they'd produce remarkably faster or more efficient superstructures. Imposing variations enabled bot sub-populations to specialize more successfully, but it also introduced a keenly human element: tradition. A bot sub-population that optimizes to deliver nitrogen could later be coaxed into adapting to process logic, but it might do so with an aerated tube structure out of tradition. This has lead to a new, technologically empowered form of homeopathy, with unregulated street shaman cultivating nanoswarms with various traditions and marketing them as miraculously intelligent cure-alls.