Friday, 8 April 2016

Evolutionary foresight goes mainstream

The mainstream seems to be finally waking up to some of the idea I expressed in 2008 in my "evolution sees" essay. In particular, Richard Watson, Eörs Szathmáry and others have recently been arguing that evolution can learn. Not just with trial-and-error learning, but with real connectionist learning. Here are some of their papers:

Though their conclusions seem similar to mine, their argument looks a bit different. They suggest that connectionist learning in ecological populations might be important. If that happens without animal nervous systems, that would be new and interesting. Even without this idea of theirs, my argument for the evolutionary significance of connectionism still stands.

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