A friend writes to raise the question of Basener’s ceiling: From Robert Marks II at ENV:
We show that no meaningful information can arise from an evolutionary process unless that process is guided. Even when guided, the degree of evolution’s accomplishment is limited by the expertise of the guiding information source — a limit we call Basener’s ceiling. An evolutionary program whose goal is to master chess will never evolve further and offer investment advice. More.
William Basener is an artificial intelligence expert.
Our friend writes “Complexity in evolutionary algorithms always stops at a certain point and never gets any better, which is predicted by Basener’s ceiling. He also notes that biological evolution seems to have no problem continuously generating more complexity, and he’s very curious what the ‘magic’ ingredient of biological evolution is and how he can incorporate it algorithmically. The forum is not very welcoming to this sort of question…
He offers an observation from David Deutsch (quantum physicist):
One thing that always seems to happen with such projects is that, after they achieve their intended aim, if the ‘evolutionary’ program is allowed to run further it produces no further improvements. This is exactly what would happen if all the knowledge in the successful robot had actually come from the programmer […]
That is why I doubt that any ‘artificial evolution’ has ever created knowledge. I have the same view, for the same reasons, about the slightly different kind of ‘artificial evolution’ that tries to evolve simulated organisms in a virtual environment, and the kind that pits different virtual species against each other.
By the way, have a look at some of the comments to our earlier story on this book: “Is evolutionary informatics a deathstar for Darwinism?” Like this one. From someone who has not indicated that he has read the book.
We feel we deserve better Darwinists! Do readers agree?
One can understand Darwin’s crowd being unhappy that things have not worked out the way they had hoped. One hoped they would concede with more grace. Maybe lower themselves to read a book.