[From Bill Powers (2003.02.04.1916 MST)]
This is Runkel on 4 Feb 03.
How is it that I have seen on the CSGnet no comment on the article in
Scientific American for February 2003 (vol. 288 no. 2), page 52 ff.,
"Evolving Inventions" by Koza, Keane, and Streeter?
Sir, I am delighted to say that I can immediately answer your question. I
don't read Scientic American. That's not quite as good an answer as Mark
Twain's, but it will have to do.
The article is about constructing electrical circuits by growing them,
so to speak, over a series of trials (corresponding to generations),
selecting those variations according to a standard set by the grower
(the engineer). In the organism, the standard could be zero disturbance
to the reorganizing system.
This is called adaptive neural networks, or something like that.
Self-organizing systems is another name. All the examples of it that I have
seen (not many) cheat: the programmer knows what the goal is, and allows
the deeveloping organization to survive if it simply changes itself in the
right direction (without actually achieving the desired goal). A model
cockroach, for example, is allowed to survive if it makes a move toward
food. As a model of evolution, of course, this is not good, because real
evolution requires that you actually survive, and doesn't give credit for
It strikes me that this evolutionary procedure could "grow" the levels
of the control hierarchy in the individual. That is, maybe overall
inner conflict (let's say) is minimized not by logical combinations of
inputs and outputs such as we easily conceive, but by sheer brute
selection processes among millions of circuits and trials. Could that
process leave behind the sort of encompassing control levels that Wm.
That's what I call reorganization, driven by intrinsic error and carried
out by random variation and selective retention.
Are Koza, Keane, and Streeter unwittingly running models of the growth
of the control hierarchy?
See my comment to Bill Williams about what to give credit for.