Saturday, January 19, 2008

New study finds that evolution doesn't select for the least fit. / Lying Robots

To settle some non-lingering issues about evolution a team of scientists proved the evolutionary equivalent of 'water is wet'. Apparently traits which are useful are selected towards... I'm astounded!

When the researchers measured changes in 40 defined characteristics of the nematodes’ sexual organs (including cell division patterns and the formation of specific cells), they found that most were uniform in direction, with the main mechanism for the development favoring a natural selection of successful traits, the researchers said.

Wow! That's the least interesting thing I've read since the evolutionary creation of lying robots! And that's only because it was the first thing I read after reading that fairly interesting article about lying robots. Both of stories appeared on slashdot, ergo the close proximity of reading.

Three colonies of bots in the 50th generation learned to signal to other robots in the group when then found food or poison. But the fourth colony included lying cheats that signaled food when they found poison and then calmly rolled over to the real food while other robots went to their battery-death. Eerily wicked, to say the least. Saving the robots' honor, luckily, there were also a few "hero robots" that signalled danger and then rolled to their death to save the others.

Oddly enough, lying to comrades to jump off a cliff leads you with more food. After honesty develops and becomes universal, dishonestly is a successful strategy, then the entire system is dishonest and needs some form of trust. Even with lying and distrust, there's the ability to signal and that's a step forward even it takes some time to develop a more optimal strategy of success (tit-for-tat is good).

No comments: