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Artificial Neural Networks Demonstrate the Evolution of Human Intelligence

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the chicks-dig-cooperation dept.

Programming 107

samazon writes "Ph.D. students at Trinity College in Dublin have constructed an artificial neural network model to demonstrate the Machiavellian intelligence theory — that human intelligence evolved based on the need for social teamwork and indexing a variety of social relationships and statuses. (Abstract) The experiment involved programming a base group of 50 simulated 'brains' which were required to participate one of two classical game theory dilemmas — the Prisoner's Dilemma or the Snowdrift game. Upon completion of either game, each 'brain' produced 'offspring' asexually, with 'brains' that made more advantageous choices during the games programmed to have a better chance to reproduce. A potential random mutation during each generation changed the 'brain's structure, number of neurons, or the strengths of the connections between those neurons,' simulating the evolution of the social brain. After 50,000 generations, the model showed that as cooperation increased, so did the intelligence of the programmed brains." The full paper is available.

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107 comments

Now... (5, Funny)

Like2Byte (542992) | about 2 years ago | (#39646053)

Now *THAT's* intelligent design!

$Ducks

Re:Now... (1, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#39646471)

I know you made a joke, but this right here is why believing in intelligent design and evolution etc are not necessarily incompatible with each other.

Re:Now... (5, Insightful)

PatDev (1344467) | about 2 years ago | (#39646715)

I know you made a joke, but this right here is why believing in intelligent design and evolution etc are not necessarily incompatible with each other.

No, it is not. They are incompatible.

Intelligent Design comes in two forms. The first is when we admit that it is just a euphemism for creationism. In this case, the theory of evolution (as well as most of the field of archaeology) clearly contradicts the story of Genesis, thus rendering the two incompatible.

The second is the form in which ID, in an attempt to distance itself from religion, rests upon the principle of irreducible complexity. The basic idea is that certain constructs represented in nature today (the human eye is an oft-used example) would have been useless in a less-complex or less specific form, and thus these traits would not have evolved (a half-formed eye is an evolutionary disadvantage, a being is better off not wasting the calories keeping that useless tissue alive). Since these traits could not develop through incremental changes, some traits must not evolve, but must have been put there by some intelligent agent.

This second form is not so much a scientific theory as it is a fundamental misunderstanding of stochastic processes and the field of mathematical optimization. This form of ID is basically the claim that evolutionary optimization can never escape local optima to discover global optima - something a competent applied mathematician knows to be false.

Re:Now... (4, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#39646909)

There is a third form you missed entirely, to which (I think) parent is referring. A situation where an intelligence creates the initial conditions necessary for life (in the case of the universe, the laws and parameters that govern it, or in a more local scale, the materials and conditions on the Earth that would bring about life in the end) which results in a "designed" life evolving on its own, as a consequence of those initial conditions, much like how this experiment outlines certain specific parameters that it hopes will bring about more advanced "brains".

Well, I think that is a possibility under ID anyways, I'm certainly not an expert on it.

Re:Now... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#39647053)

Yes, that is what I was alluding to exactly.

Re:Now... (4, Insightful)

PatDev (1344467) | about 2 years ago | (#39647325)

That is a distinct viewpoint known as Deism - also commonly discussed as a "watchmaker God". It is a means of reconciling belief in a deity with the apparent lack of evidence for one. However, Deism directly contradicts intelligent design - the two are as irreconcilable as evolution and intelligent design.

Intelligent Design is the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design [wikipedia.org] . The very undirected process a hypothetical Deist god would set in motion (evolution) is specifically what Intelligent Design claims does not work.

It's not that evolution and religion cannot coexist - if I'm not mistaken, evolution even has the Papal seal of approval. They can. But intelligent design is not religion - it's a dogma pretending to be science. Only the form of pseudo-science they chose to make their defining point is so clearly refutable that they wind up with less credibility than if they had just gone with "faith" as their explanation.

Re:Now... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39648405)

The very undirected process a hypothetical Deist god would set in motion (evolution) is specifically what Intelligent Design claims does not work.

People who believe in both Intelligent Design and evolution, and also have some knowledge of the science behind evolution and natural selection, don't necessarily say that evolution on its own cannot produce the creatures that we see, but rather say that it is so statistically unlikely that it would have required the manipulation of probability by some intelligent deity to arrive at the results we have.

Re:Now... (2)

holmstar (1388267) | about 2 years ago | (#39650189)

The universe is absurdly huge. Even something with a tiny statistical likelihood is almost guaranteed to happen at some point, somewhere, and probably in many variations.

Re:Now... (1)

Gregg Alan (8487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39652643)

but rather say that it is so statistically unlikely that it would have required the manipulation of probability by some intelligent deity to arrive at the results we have.

I either don't remember or haven't heard this version. They think it's more probable that a deity manipulated probability? While that doesn't sound scientific to me, I'm intrigued. Do you have a link I could start with (yes, I'll google it for myself, but you seem to already know of the idea.)

Re:Now... (1)

Migala77 (1179151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39656735)

The very undirected process a hypothetical Deist god would set in motion (evolution) is specifically what Intelligent Design claims does not work.

People who believe in both Intelligent Design and evolution, and also have some knowledge of the science behind evolution and natural selection, don't necessarily say that evolution on its own cannot produce the creatures that we see, but rather say that it is so statistically unlikely that it would have required the manipulation of probability by some intelligent deity to arrive at the results we have.

But all the millions/billions/whatever times the evolution did not produce intelligent creatures we were not there to observe it. You don't know how many failed evolutions you haven't observed, so unlikeliness does not imply manipulation.

Re:Now... (1)

Fned (43219) | about 2 years ago | (#39649265)

Intelligent Design is the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design [wikipedia.org] . The very undirected process a hypothetical Deist god would set in motion (evolution) is specifically what Intelligent Design claims does not work.

That's kind of like saying if you change things on a network later to make it work the way you want, that you didn't design it in the first place.

If Deism doesn't include the possibility of a fallible God that never changes his mind about things, that doesn't mean that ID doesn't. Yes, that may very well make ID incompatible with any number of religions, a controversy which I wholeheartedly endorse be taught in Tennessee schools.

Re:Now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39649445)

Intelligent Design is the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design [wikipedia.org] . The very undirected process a hypothetical Deist god would set in motion (evolution) is specifically what Intelligent Design claims does not work.

Playing devil's advocate:

Processes that appear 'undirected' to us mere mortals with imperfect knowledge could be viewed as completely 'directed' by a omniscient creator diety.

Re:Now... (-1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39647433)

And you are wrong. There was nothing for a being to be in. No way for it to exist, and know time.

Not that I expect you to stop hand waving so you don't have to question why you believe in something.

Re:Now... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#39647609)

Oh shut the fuck up. I'm saying there's a way for people to believe in both, not that I personally do. I think it's a whole bunch of horse-shit, personally... but I do respect the beliefs of others, which is why I try to find compromises such as this. News flash: the world is not black/white right/wrong correct/incorrect.

Re:Now... (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about 2 years ago | (#39650103)

Oh shut the fuck up. I'm saying there's a way for people to believe in both

No, you shut the fuck up!

He wrote:

GOD IS POWER

He accepted everything. The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia. Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford were guilty of the crimes they were charged with. He had never seen the photograph that disproved their guilt. It had never existed, he had invented it. He remembered remembering contrary things, but those were false memories, products of selfdeception. How easy it all was! Only surrender, and everything else followed. It was like swimming against a current that swept you backwards however hard you struggled, and then suddenly deciding to turn round and go with the current instead of opposing it. Nothing had changed except your own attitude: the predestined thing happened in any case. He hardly knew why he had ever rebelled. Everything was easy, except!

Anything could be true. The so-called laws of Nature were nonsense. The law of gravity was nonsense. 'If I wished,' O'Brien had said, 'I could float off this floor like a soap bubble.' Winston worked it out. 'If he thinks he floats off the floor, and if I simultaneously think I see him do it, then the thing happens.' Suddenly, like a lump of submerged wreckage breaking the surface of water, the thought burst into his mind: 'It doesn't really happen. We imagine it. It is hallucination.' He pushed the thought under instantly. The fallacy was obvious. It presupposed that somewhere or other, outside oneself, there was a 'real' world where 'real' things happened. But how could there be such a world? What knowledge have we of anything, save through our own minds? All happenings are in the mind. Whatever happens in all minds, truly happens.

1984 [george-orwell.org]

Also, I really doubt this:

I do respect the beliefs of others

because I don't think you respect the belief of a [supposed] Muslim fanatic that blowing himself up together with a bunch of innocent people is a GoodThing(TM).

Re:Now... (1)

coliverhb (886806) | about 2 years ago | (#39648569)

It's times like this when I think about what I would say if a religious fundamentalist came up to me and asked me (and, yes, I know I have a tendency to over-dramatize my thoughts) "What has your precious science given you?" to which I would reply "Doubt."

Now here's where I get to how this involves your post; you seem awfully sure that there is no God - even to the point where you're claiming to know the intricacies of the universe to the extent that you can apparently claim to know every point in time from the universes beginning to its end and the whole of existence within it.

Seems evidence to me that God exists, and his Slashdot SN is geekoid.

Re:Now... (2)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#39647923)

This IS a possibility under what I would call "Weak Intelligent Design".

However, it is important to note that, in that context, Weak ID is not a direct competitor to evolution, it is a cause of it. Therefore, evolution becomes the only *scientific* mechanism for actual development of species (although a hypothetical deity could still decide to intervene directly). A Weak ID person may well then oppose this law because there is no scientific evidence for any other theory that describes how species emerge. To their mind, any "Strong ID" belongs more properly in a philosophy classroom, not in a science classroom, because it describes something that is possible, but impossible to use science to prove.

It does bear mentioning that it is possible that a deity could have created the Earth and Universe in 6006BC, and then simply created those entities in such as way as to make them look like they were 15 billion years old. There is nothing that prevents a creator from creating current conditions "in place" and then laughing as we scamper around trying to figure out what happened. And that is why I usually don't get spun up about this stuff. Thinking that way is entirely useless as a way of making scientific discoveries, but there is nothing that says science has to have the answers to *everything*.

Re:Now... (1)

ppanon (16583) | about 2 years ago | (#39650553)

Your last paragraph describes what I consider to be religious existentialism, with even less use and insight than secular/traditional existentialism. I rarely find practical jokes or fraud to be even remotely funny, except sometimes when practiced on people with a heavily overdrawn karma account, and any deity that engages in them indiscriminately isn't worthy of much respect in my opinion.

Re:Now... (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39652225)

You only say that because you don't think you're going to come face to face with an actual deity.

For my part, I make it a point of respecting anything that can smite me so hard I taste the color blue, two weeks ago. Particularly since two weeks ago was very out of season for blues. I prefer a good taupe in the morning to go with my heaping portion of Dada.

Re:Now... (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 2 years ago | (#39653015)

In the same way that you can hate the sin and love the sinner, I can respect the smiting and the blue while still thinking the smiter's an ass. To provide a Godwining example, Messerschmitt Me 262 or Panzerkampfwagen V Panther and Adolph Hitler.

Re:Now... (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 2 years ago | (#39657023)

Thinking that way is entirely useless as a way of making scientific discoveries, but there is nothing that says science has to have the answers to *everything*.

But there is something (the Jaynes/Cox derivation of Bayes' rule, which depends only on a consistency condition) that says that if science doesn't have the answer, neither does anything else.

Re:Now... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#39648491)

An example is Monsanto. They are semi-gods and semi-creators. And they have a lot of wrath.

Re:Now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39649377)

and a lot of white mana to cast it with

Re:Now... (1)

bigAhi (1718886) | about 2 years ago | (#39648827)

that it hopes will bring about more advanced "brains"

Wouldn't it be likely that the the "intelligence", the Ph.D. students in this case, would tweak the parameters, or nudge the evolution in a particular direction. Or introduce a mechanism or object that might change the course of the evolution? I know I would if I were in their shoes, probably repeatedly if I had a desired outcome.

Any intelligence with the motivation and capability to kickstart a project like this is probably going to have the motivation and capability to interfere at some point. This starts looking more like the second form.

Re:Now... (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#39648987)

That depends on the power you attribute to the creator. If you say that god is omnipotent and omniscient, it becomes unnecessary for him to nudge evolution along a different path, because he can order things so that they don't need a nudge. Humans have to tweak the parameters because we aren't omniscient, so we don't know what the results will be with a given set of parameters, but a creator would.

Obviously it is still possible for him to interfere if he so chooses, but he wouldn't need to for the natural order to arrive at the desired end. You can, of course, argue that it is fitting for him to interfere at key points, or that he would still need to in order to teach mankind about himself, but that would fall under the purview of religion and philosophy.

Re:Now... (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 2 years ago | (#39649653)

But would that override a motivation to see what happens without interference?

Re:Now... (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 2 years ago | (#39648025)

Exists a third alternative, in my honest opinion: An intelligence from space in action.

I still remember the interesting theory that the "gods" were actually astronauts from other worlds. The evolution is still valid, but as Arthur C. Clarke would say, we may have "taken an evolutionary kick in the butt".


P.S: Google translation sucks. Do not worry about my terrible grammar

Re:Now... (1)

IcyHando'Death (239387) | about 2 years ago | (#39648135)

IANAL, but I do play Devil's Advocate on Slashdot from time to time. So forgive me, mods, if I criticise this criticism of ID. It should not be taken as a defense of the indefensible. But I just can let such sloppy logic go unchallenged.

Intelligent Design comes in two forms. The first is when we admit that it is just a euphemism for creationism. In this case, the theory of evolution (as well as most of the field of archaeology) clearly contradicts the story of Genesis, thus rendering the two incompatible.

There are many versions of creationism besides the Christian ones. You'll have to do better than that to prove incompatibility

This form of ID is basically the claim that evolutionary optimization can never escape local optima to discover global optima - something a competent applied mathematician knows to be false.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The ID propenents are on very solid ground in their belief that something as complex as an eye, a flagellum or the blood clotting cascade could not evolve given that the partially formed proto-systems are useless. That is abolutely the case. The problem with ID is that this uselessness is not a given. It's not that a random process can result in an escape from a local optimum (which is true to a limited extent, but not really relevant here). It's that a partial eye is not useless. Nor a partial flagellum.

Re:Now... (2)

jc42 (318812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39653831)

The ID propenents are on very solid ground in their belief that something as complex as an eye, a flagellum or the blood clotting cascade could not evolve given that the partially formed proto-systems are useless.

Actually, their argument really reduces to "I don't see how the intermediate stages could be adaptive, so they weren't." But an interesting example appeared in the biological literature about a decade ago: A group of starfish called "brittle stars" (because of their hard surface made of silicate crystals) are in the very early stages of evolving a compound eye, and it's quite adaptive.

The critical part of this discovery is that their hard crystalline surface contains scattered lenses that focus incoming light on light-sensitive cells in the underlying skin surface. It is estimated that the resulting proto-eyes has an angular resolution of only about 1 degree, which isn't very good. It's about twice the angular diameter of the sun and moon, so these important light sources would be only around 1 pixel to them. But this does give them the ability to locate light sources and shadows, and to spot moving objects that are in good contrast to their background.

These critters' eyes are nowhere near as accurate as ours, or (to make a more relevant comparison) the eyes of crustacea or insects. But they are apparently beneficial to the stars, and are at a very early stage of development. In fact, there have been a number of comments on the high optical quality of their little lenses, comparable to the best lenses that humans can manufacture.

Re:Now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39652321)

I'd say the laws of physics are an intelligent way to design the universe

Re:Now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39653401)

When you said "something a competent applied mathematician knows to be false", I was disappointed. I couldn't count how many times I've had this discussion with people, and when it gets to that point -- that evolution is somehow able to magically avoid local optima, no one ever seems to have an explanation for why they believe that. All hill climbing algorithms seem to suffer from this problem, and evolution seems to me to be nothing more than another hill climbing algorithm (like simulated annealing, which suffers the problem during the simulated cooling phase), but I must be missing something...

Re:Now... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39647405)

Yes they are incompatible.

Re:Now... (1)

Pogdranaut (1103447) | about 2 years ago | (#39648133)

ID is identically equal to creationism. For design automatically implies a designer; to talk of design whilst denying the designer, is akin to talking of music, whilst denying the musician. And who else other than god could this designer be ? Ask yourselves this question, could there be a designer of life who ISN'T god ?

Re:Now... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#39648187)

You are all missing the point.

There's no reason a deity could not create the tools/laws/conditions that cause life/evolution/etc to occur. Thus ID and scientific theories such as Evolution do not inherently conflict.

Re:Now... (1)

Pogdranaut (1103447) | about 2 years ago | (#39648447)

But this amounts to a 'fire and forget' deity, and one then has to ask how this adds anything to our understanding of the universe.

Re:Now... (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39652625)

I know you made a joke, but this right here is why believing in intelligent design and evolution etc are not necessarily incompatible with each other.

They're not necessarily incompatible, but here's the thing: We know evolution is happening right now and has been happening since the first living thing existed because random mutation and natural selection of advantageous variants is an unavoidable consequence of living things reproducing or in fact anything reproducing.

We have no evidence that intelligent design is happening or ever happened.

The theory that explains everything by random mutation and natural selection is elegant and sufficient. Occam's Razor says we shouldn't elaborate it with extraneous entities like gods or super-intelligent beings interfering in the process.

But not in ... (0)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#39646155)

.... Tennessee [slashdot.org] .

Re:But not in ... (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 years ago | (#39646817)

Beat me to it... DAMN!

So your saying... (1)

gabereiser (1662967) | about 2 years ago | (#39646197)

Intelligence is really a socially directed kd-tree...

Human intelligence ? (1)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#39646225)

They had a whopping 20 neurons (nodes).

Wouldn't this be more like a model of insect intelligence, say from about 250 million years ago ? Maybe it could explain the evolution of bees.

Re:Human intelligence ? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39646327)

Please reference previous comment. This clearly is designed to model intelligence in Tennessee. Now if we could just fast forward 50,000 generations...

Re:Human intelligence ? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39647111)

You mean 200 generations, from 6000BC.

Re:Human intelligence ? (2)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#39647569)

please account for inbreeding...

Re:Human intelligence ? (4, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39646401)

Keep going. C.Elegans has more neurons than that.

You can go look at them - someone has been nice enough to digitise the entire nervous system, down to every last synapse. It's browseable at http://wormweb.org/neuralnet#c=BAG&m=1 [wormweb.org]

For the singulatity fans: Yes, this is almost the first full brain upload. It isn't quite, as it doesn't store synapse response data and the brain-map is actually a composite from multible individuals, but give it a couple more decades and one of the little worms may go down in history as the first naturally-occuring intelligence (If you can call it that) to make the transition to digital immortality.

Interesting consequences (4, Interesting)

Covalent (1001277) | about 2 years ago | (#39646279)

The paper suggests that evolution favors cooperation but that it also favors low-cost solutions (i.e. lots of little dumb brains (ants) vs. singular powerful brains (humans)). Perhaps this explains the Fermi Paradox: Aliens are all over the place on other worlds, but they're mostly the former kind of cooperative rather than the latter.

Re:Interesting consequences (3, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 years ago | (#39647305)

The paper suggests that evolution favors cooperation

The experiment in question picked "games" that require cooperation to achieve best results. So naturally the paper would suggest that evolution favors cooperation.

Linking reproduction to cooperation might be a reasonable theory. Or not. But this experiment doesn't suggest anything other than "if we make cooperation an asset in our experiment, then cooperation will work better in our experiment".

Re:Interesting consequences (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 2 years ago | (#39649797)

which would seem to model reality better than the alternative. Or are you asserting that the results of cooperation are inferior to the results of noncooperation at the small scale (individual to tribal size)?

Re:Interesting consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39647307)

"The paper suggests that evolution favors cooperation but that it also favors low-cost solutions (i.e. lots of little dumb brains (ants) vs. singular powerful brains (humans)). Perhaps this explains the Fermi Paradox: Aliens are all over the place on other worlds, but they're mostly the former kind of cooperative rather than the latter."

Are you saying that large complex brains (humans) can not and do not cooperate?

What about individuals within corporations, science, societies?

Besides, there's no consensus that the Fermi paradox is really a paradox. The stupendously large distances both spatial (current technology excludes almost all of the universe from our attempts to detect signs of ET intelligence) and temporal (no guarantee that even advanced civilizations will exist for any significant part of the history of the universe) that are involved, go a long way towards explaining why we haven't detected ET intelligence.

Re:Interesting consequences (1)

jc42 (318812) | about 2 years ago | (#39648469)

The paper suggests that evolution favors cooperation but that it also favors low-cost solutions (i.e. lots of little dumb brains (ants) vs. singular powerful brains (humans)). ...

Are you saying that large complex brains (humans) can not and do not cooperate?

Well, they can, but not nearly as well as ants. ;-)

It has been pointed out that our planet has a much larger biomass of ants than of humans. By just about any measure of "success", ants are much more successful than we are. They are certainly more social.

Of course, we're all part of a biosphere that requires a wide variety of species. So picking one feature (biomass, IQ, habitat volume, flight speed, etc.) as the prime measure of success is somewhat beside the point. Neither we nor the ants has the ability to exterminate the other, so by the popular "social Darwinism" metric, we're incommensurable, and neither is more successful than the other.

Re:Interesting consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39647391)

There is no Fermi Paradox, it's simply infinitesimally unlikely to stumble upon another organism when thousands of light years separate you. It would literally require a generation space ship, which will never return back home (so then wtf is the point of even going, it's not an adventure, it's a suicide mission, with no pay-off), that would travel for millions of years, to stumble upon another planet with life... Almost no chance of ever happening... So, there is no paradox.

Not to mention, even if you do somehow, through your telescopes, find out that there is another thinking organism 1000 light years away (but more likely, millions of light years separate us), so what? almost no chance that 1. The planet is still there, (don't forget, we're all in motion, planets around the sun, stars around the super massive black hole at the center of the galaxy, and galaxies are almost moving around.), or 2. That the intelligent organisms are still there (1000-millions of years for light from them to reach you, and another who knows how many thousand of millions of years for you to reach them by a space ship...). So again, no Fermi paradox, you're just an idiot. Some retarded religious subhuman spewed this "fermi paradox" bullshit, and other retards like you gobbled it up, but in reality, there is no fermi paradox.

Re:Interesting consequences (1)

holmstar (1388267) | about 2 years ago | (#39650351)

What if there is a way to travel interstellar distances, a la hyperspace, but in discovering it, it also becomes possible to travel to a different universe/plane of existence that is immediately recognized as superior to our own. And, for intrinsic reasons, would be recognized as superior to any intelligence that discovered it? Intelligent species would then uproot and move to the better universe/plane once it became possible to do so.

I'm not saying that I belive this, or that it's likely, but it's an interesting counterpoint to the doom and gloom scenarios proposed as solutions to the Fermi Paradox.

Re:Interesting consequences (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 years ago | (#39647639)

It's an interesting result, my only doubt is that these sorts of models are so critically sensitive on (for lack of a better term) 'moral' assumptions built into the rules - that valuations of the results.

For the Snowdrift game, for example, if you do nothing while the other driver shovels, you 'win' with 300. If you shovel and the other driver doesn't, you still get 100. If you both shovel, you both get 200. So in a sense they 'bias' the game by rewarding you for accepting being exploited, you're just rewarded less than if you did the exploiting. If the point values were 300 for sitting and letting them shovel, 100 for both shoveling, and -100 if you were exploited, I suspect that the results would be significantly different.

Of course, I understand that we simplify models to simplify complex subjects but to me the number of assumptions inherent in these simplifications often overshadows the value we can draw from the models.

Re:Interesting consequences (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#39648051)

Not really. Think of it as a Mendel Square. Lets say the one who exploited got 4 children The ones who both shoveled got 2 children each The one who was exploited got 1 children The ones who both did not shovel got 0 children The advantage come in when both try to exploit the exploitation gene will be at a severe disadvantage. After all you cant have children if you don't dig yourself out of the hole or someone digs you out. Exploiting can be a big pay out but it can also be a death sentence.

Re:Interesting consequences (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 2 years ago | (#39649809)

Perhaps, but that wouldn't model the situation well. Even if you're the only shoveller, you still get your car out of the snowdrift. For that to be a net negative, you'd have to hurt yourself somehow in the process...

Re:Interesting consequences (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#39648541)

evolution...also favors low-cost solutions (i.e. lots of little dumb brains (ants) vs. singular powerful brains...

On Earth we call them "Republicans without birth-control" ;-)

Begging the Question (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39646305)

So if we stipulate in our environment that smarter brains are more likely to reproduce, then the smarter brains reproduce just like would happen if human brains evolved to be smarter as a competitive advantage, so human brains evolved as a competitive advantage? They've stacked the dice to make evolution happen in their artificial world, so why should we make the inference that the world's dice are stacked in just the same way?

Re:Begging the Question (4, Insightful)

Score Whore (32328) | about 2 years ago | (#39646769)

Yes, their paper is a tautology. Shorter paper: "We created a simulation of our rules. Then the simulation proved our rules."

Re:Begging the Question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39647019)

"Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.” -- Nikola Tesla.

Re:Begging the Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39647153)

Yes, it contains a tautology, the assumption that social success increases survival. But it was to show that, under those conditions, easily demonstrated through other means, "intelligence" increases.

Re:Begging the Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39648411)

Furthermore, technically speaking, all the potential intelligence of these brains was already there before the brain was able to take advantage of it. Is this very different than a living brain? Yes, insofar that arbitrary modelling of intelligence means nothing for what the actual brain does to evolve.

Re:Begging the Question (1)

flabbergast (620919) | about 2 years ago | (#39649009)

Hmmm, condenses my thoughts on the subject into two succinct sentences. Well done.

Re:Begging the Question (1)

Fned (43219) | about 2 years ago | (#39649413)

Yes, their paper is a tautology. Shorter paper: "We created a simulation of our rules. Then the simulation proved our rules."

Incorrect. They stipulated that brains that most successfully played the games were more likely to survive. They placed no artifical constraints on "smarter" (whatever that means). If neural networks becoming simpler over 50,000 generations of (getting better at co-operating)+(random mutations) were probable, it probably would have happened in the simulation. In fact, it might have, if any of the games had included the possibilty of self-sacrifice in addition to co-operate or not-co-operate.

Re:Begging the Question (1)

dinfinity (2300094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39652269)

whatever that means

Indeed. From the full text (jay, free to read! But frames, really?):

It is with this tradition in mind that we develop our articial neural network model, with evolving network structure, using the number of neurons, i, as our proxy for intelligence.

Not very sophisticated, if you ask me. More importantly, though:

Context nodes, which store the previous state of their cognitive node and return this state (times a weight) as input in the next round, are labelled C.

So they've implemented a special type of node that serves as a very very short term memory.

For example, manual interrogation of networks revealed that, of the tit-for-tat type strategies that emerge, many are tit-for-2(or more)-tats

(See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tit_for_tat#Tit_for_two_tats [wikipedia.org] ). It is slightly interesting that the (round n-1) context nodes and traditional nodes combined can generate operational memory of round n-2, but what the paper boils down to is: evolving neural networks with memory nodes evolve strategies that use memory.
My neurobiology isn't that strong, but I'm not too sure whether early life forms have the equivalent of such memory nodes, which kind of puts a dent in the whole this-could-be-in-part-how-early-intelligence-evolved.

Re:Begging the Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39646903)

why should we make the inference that the world's dice are stacked in just the same way?

It used to be, then we started putting "DO NOT EAT SILICA GEL" in 5 languages and pictograms for the mouthbreathing cretins.

Re:Begging the Question (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#39647059)

They did incorporate a fitness penalty for the number of neurons, but that penalty was arbitrary, just like the whole model.

Can't be true ... (3, Funny)

richieb (3277) | about 2 years ago | (#39646397)

I've seen "Idiocracy". This can't be true.

Re:Can't be true ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39648389)

Why, the artificial brains were fed with Gatorade because of the electrolytes.

Not sure what to call this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39646429)

So *someone* creates the neurons, creates connections, establishes rules of selection, creates mutations for random change, turns the system loose, and that is somehow a model for completely random unguided uncreated evolution???

Re:Not sure what to call this (2)

kurzweilfreak (829276) | about 2 years ago | (#39648351)

Yes it is, if you understand what the hell you're talking about.

So *someone* creates the neurons

Where the neurons "come from" is irrelevant, whether they sprang forth from the magic of the intelligent designer or were created through abiogenesis. What is relevant is that they reproduce with a mechanism for heredity.

creates connections

Connections could be generated randomly and you will end up with the same result as long as you have heredity, mutation, and selection.

establishes rules of selection

Where the rules of selection come from is irrelevant, whether it's "natural" selection (environment) or "artificial" selection (we choose the rules, like for dog breeding). What matters is that there is selection choosing from a randomly generated pool of variety.

creates mutations for random change

What part of "random mutation" do you not get? Random mutations happen in DNA. This produces random variety that is then culled through selection. Same thing here.

and that is somehow a model for completely random unguided uncreated evolution???

Yes, because you have exactly the same mechanisms: heredity, random mutation, selection. Evolution isn't random; mutations are random.

It's amazing how ridiculous something seems when you think you understand it but you really don't, doesn't it?

Iterated prisoner's dilemma? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#39646445)

So did they evolve the optimal strategy of starting with cooperation then mirroring your opponent's last move? Because it's cooperative but you don't need many neurons for that.

Re:Iterated prisoner's dilemma? (1)

Confusedent (1913038) | more than 2 years ago | (#39655365)

That isn't the optimal strategy, better ones have been found. I can't remember the title, but I remember reading a book on genetic algorithms which mentioned a competition in which professors were invited to submit Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma algorithms. Many were submitted, included the "tit for tat" strategy you refer to. IIRC the genetic algorithm killed them all and eventually found a unique strategy better than all the submitted algorithm's strategies, including the mirror/tit-for-tat one. On that note, I haven't read the paper yet but this hardly seems that exciting. They basically built a genetic algorithm to experiment with possible neural networks until it evolved a population optimized for well-known and well-studied games. Unless there's more to it than that, this seems like something already accomplished years ago. Cool, but hardly cutting-edge.

Socialism ve Capitalism? (1, Offtopic)

dryriver (1010635) | about 2 years ago | (#39646597)

If this reasearch is correct, people living under Socialism (where cooperation is high because it is mandatory and forms the very basis of the system) would wind up becoming smarter than people who live under Capitalism (where competition/versus behaviour and everyone-for-himself thinking is closer to being the norm, relatively speaking). This is an interesting result from a politics perspective, because proponents of unfettered, hard-core capitalism often charicature socialist systems/ideologies and the people who live under them as being "unfree" or "living like cattle". Quite a contradiction of views/results, eh? One could infer from this, that hard-core capitalists lack the "cooperative intelligence" that a working socialist system creates to such an extent, that hard-core capitalists cannot even comprehend how a cooperation-socialism based system works - because they never developed a comparable cooperation-based intelligence themselves. Of course it is somewhat silly to arrive at this result purely based on a clever neural-networks exercise that has been conducted by some PhD students. But the hypothesis of capitalists never developing, and thus largely lacking, the cooperative-intelligence needed to live in a socialist society is interesting nevertheless, is it not? It might explain why hard-core capitalists are so keen at swining rhetorical wrecking balls at anything that has even a small whiff of "socialist cooperative model" to it... Like Open Source Software - which is very much a product of cooperative intelligence - for example. To put it more simply, maybe prominent capitalists like Bill Gates cannot help dissing open source efforts like Linux, because they are, from a personal development standpoint, largely unfamiliar with the kind of cooperative-intelligence that a more "socialist" mode of product creation promotes.

Re:Socialism ve Capitalism? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39646781)

So, you're basing your pet theory that Socialists are smarter than Capitalists based on a single experiment that used neural networks with the approximately 1/15th the complexity of a roundworm?

Re:Socialism ve Capitalism? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#39646833)

You are making the mistake of assuming that extant socialist systems are any thing like their idealized portrayal.

Re:Socialism ve Capitalism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39646859)

Capitalism or a market based economy is all about cooperation. Your argument that Capitalism is an "every man is an island" while Socialism is a "we are all in this together" is fundamentally flawed. Under pure Capitalism you can not use force, all decisions are voluntary, thus you must work together (cooperate) with another person to come to an agreement.
Also OSS is not a good example of Socialism, this is a good example of the why and how Capitalism works. Just because it is free does not make it a socialist idea. People donate their time (or money) to a project that is important to them, this is no different then donating their time or money to the red cross or to the boy scouts.

People working in groups does not make it Socialism.

Re:Socialism ve Capitalism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39647065)

I think the problem that hangs between the two of you is you use "capitalism" to mean different things. You seem to mean "free market", while OP appears to mean the state-backed system of privilege. The former is a purely voluntary system which creates freedom and equality and which some of the early (anti-state) socialists were in favor of; the latter stifles free competition, creating a glut of desperate workers which (via the law of supply and demand) drives labor costs down and thereby keeps the masses permanently in a kind of soft indentured servitude.

I think the way forward for the world lies in synthesizing the hard left's deftness at social issues with the hard right's economic sense via a better understanding of the free market as a vehicle for freedom and self-determination.

Re:Socialism ve Capitalism? (2)

dryriver (1010635) | about 2 years ago | (#39647453)

The free market is a "vehicle for freedom and self-determination" only for people who get the "top jobs" in an economy and "call the shots" from the top of the pyramid. That would be 1 - 5 percent of the population, depending on the country you live in. For almost everyone else, unfettered ("unregulated") free-market capitalism is a system of abuse and serfdom that lasts a lifetime. Do you like Software/Content DRM? It was dreamed up by supposed "free-market capitalism". As was almost everything in the modern world that kills/maims/abuses/denigrates/disadvantages the common man. The hard-left and hard-right will never enter a synthesis, because the hard-right is so morally corrupt, exploitative, predatory and irresponsible that nothing good can come from cooperating with the hard-right. Period.

Re:Socialism ve Capitalism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39653665)

And you're only proving my point. You're talking past me, arguing against the former kind of "capitalism," which is not, and cannot exist within, a free market.
  For example, the software content/DRM is an device to protect the government-granted monopoly that is copyright. Copyright is not a part of a free market. The system of capitalism we have is a mixture of state socialism and fascism, and only manages to function insofar as some parts of the market are left free.
  This inability to distinguish between the system we have and a free market afflicts both left and right, but doing so only makes sense for the conventional right, who are primarily about kissing up to our corporate masters. For the left to do so is to try to fight oppression by arguing against freedom, which is ridiculous and inconsistent with decent liberal values.

  And also, I don't mean the hard right you're thinking about, either. Most of the ones I'm talking about don't vote anymore, because the Republicrats and Demopubs offer them nothing. Some of them vote Libertarian, others have given up on that corrupt party politics business and become the agorists, revolutionary market anarchists.

funny (1)

muppet007 (2615597) | about 2 years ago | (#39646645)

Now that's intelligent ;) Does this formulier [cloudformz.com] work?

this is reel gud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39646717)

i like it

MY CPU (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39646793)

My CPU is a neural net processor - a learning computer

Cave Johnson here... (4, Funny)

nman64 (912054) | about 2 years ago | (#39646941)

Fact: The key to any successful cooperative test is trust, and as our data clearly shows, humans cannot be trusted. The solution: robots! Then, fire the guys who made those robots, and build better robots. Then, run those robots through a regimen of trust exercises, creating a foundation of mutual respect, reinforced by the simulated bonds of artificial friendship. Inspiring stuff. And finally, we put that trust to the test. Bam! Robots gave us six extra seconds of cooperation. Good job, robots. Cave Johnson. We're done here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZMSAzZ76EU [youtube.com]

unnecessary (1)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | about 2 years ago | (#39647231)

Upon completion of either game, each 'brain' produced 'offspring' asexually

You don't say...

A bit of a deceptive title (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#39647359)

The title made it sound like this was something big. In reality it's interesting but not that interesting. I've see this kind of thing before when they did something similar to get a "team" of robots to play a game together. Nice, but not human level intelligence. Heck it's not even cat or dog level intelligence. I was hoping this would be some kind of break though AI but really it's more disappointing reading the article.

Re:A bit of a deceptive title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39647505)

Maybe you don't think it's good news. I, for one, welcome our more cooperative robotic overlords.

Re:A bit of a deceptive title (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39647529)

Every time a break through in AI is made, it gets taken out of AI.

I suspect that if I created an AI with a cat level intelligence, people would say the cat isn't intelligent.

Internet search was one considered an AI problem, the moment it was solved it was taken away from AI.
Many games have AI, but the moment they where created they where some how technical and not AI.

10 years ago what Siri does would have been considered AI.
Too many people put a mystical belief on top of intelligence. When you remove the mystical element people don't consider it intelligence.

Re:A bit of a deceptive title (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#39647821)

What I'm saying is I've seen demonstrations of little robots that were built to play Soccer. They then set them into a breading program using a genetic algorithm and artificial neural networks and they evolved a method for communicating and recognizing team mates. What this article is about is a much lower form of intelligence than what has already been done. It's interesting only in how the application of game theory in artificial evolution. In terms of AI it's lack luster.

Not Applicable in Tennessee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39647373)

Not Applicable in Tennessee

Proof that war is STUPID! (0)

3seas (184403) | about 2 years ago | (#39647503)

With over 7 billion people working together... just think where we could go with intelligence. But we have ignorant politician and commanders in the way.... Why is that?

Re:Proof that war is STUPID! (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#39647997)

Because we happily vote them in, but never fire them.

Re:Proof that republicans are making us STUPID! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39656753)

Republicanism is against collaboration and group work as well as intellectual elites. So they are bringing us down since they try to move us away from the process that promotes the evolution of human intelligence?

My apologies to any republicans reading this, I do not mean to hurt your feelings by pointing out your low intelligence or imply you are destroying mankind especially when you are incapable of taking responsibility for your actions.

The Problem with this Study (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#39647695)

... is the same problem pretty much every study has -- it's based on the concept of ceteris paribus, which does not exist in reality.

From a purely academic standpoint, however, it is a neat experiment.

Re:The Problem with this Study (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 2 years ago | (#39649479)

Really? Then explain this, twatwaffle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceteris_paribus [wikipedia.org]

Re:The Problem with this Study (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39657463)

Really? Then explain this, twatwaffle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceteris_paribus [wikipedia.org]

?:/

That, numbnuts, is called Wikipedia, which is oft billed as the "Encyclopedia anyone can edit," hence the questionable nature of its content.

Did you have a point? Perhaps, since you're obviously in opposition to my opinion, you can give some examples of real life situations in which all but a single variable are held equal?

Re:The Problem with this Study (1)

Fned (43219) | about 2 years ago | (#39649755)

... is the same problem pretty much every study has -- it's based on the concept of ceteris paribus, which does not exist in reality.

...unless you're trying to create artificial intelligences. Knowing the minimum number of generations it might take for a particular method to produce emergent increases in general intelligence would seem to be handy information in that case.

Old MacDonald had a server farm. AI AI Ohhh!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39648831)

Ok, we're not gonna get Jude Law Sex Bot (not related to SpongeBob SquarePants) out of this AI experiment, but it seems nifty. I wrote something similar to test clonal interference. Worked nicely, too. It's easy to enforce evolution on your models. It's when they do something unexpected that the fun begins. Add enough computing power, and you can increase the latitude of the parameters you're testing. Hey, better yet, make the whole thing tiny, complex, and chemical in nature. Coil it up! Wrap it in a factory with little thingies that work like code interpreters. Yeah! That's the ticket! We can call the process Learning Intuitively For Experience, or LIFE, for short. Not that it'll catch on.

What about thinking? Hmm. Well, 100 1st graders can be quite innovative if you lock them in the Lego store at night. Every morning, remove the ones who used blue pieces in their constructions. Why? It's MY experiment!!! If you can't get 1st graders, then alpacas or fire ants will do. Eventually, you will have a most excellent Lego creation. Ok. Will you understand what it is, though? Maybe it makes sense to them, even if we don't see the utility of it. Maybe it's their "art"?

So now you see why this is all interesting, but not terribly important... ...yet.

Re:Old MacDonald had a server farm. AI AI Ohhh!!!! (1)

Velaki (968192) | about 2 years ago | (#39648945)

LOL!

All they've shown (1)

GrandTeddyBearOfDoom (1483117) | about 2 years ago | (#39649347)

Is a loose demonstration of plausibility of the Mach. theory.

Big Bang spawned a Universal Intelligence(God??!!) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39650065)

Nothing would exist (big bang could not have even occured) without the existence of the laws and parameters that govern time, space, matter, energy, physics and chemistry. This lead to the undeniable conclusion that an utimate Intelligence was created simultainously with the big bang. This does NOT lead to the conclusion that this Intellegence has taken control in any aspects of the 13.7 billion year evolution of the expanding universe. It has only created the tools with which natural processes have to work; from the creation of most of the elements in the periodic table to the functioning of the human brain.

Good use of modeling, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39655369)

Great idea to use a neural network to model intelligence in this context, but this has nothing to do with Darwinian evolution, as several posters seem to think. Their GA mutated network weights and nodes. The weights would be equivalent to neural synapse strength in the brain. The nodes would represent blocks of cortical neurons that span many levels. In fact they could represent entire neural subsystems.

According to the theory of Darwinian evolution, the entire brain developed - as did everything about us - through natural selection of accumulated random mutations of individual genes. Even the most simple mutation in this study - that of network weight - would likely require the beneficial mutation of many genes. If all relevant genes did not mutate simutaneously, mutation in any subset would be unlikely to be beneficial. For even a few genes to simultaneously mutate beneficially, the probability of occurence is so high as to be basically impossible (see the history of the arms race between humans and plasmodium malariae). Now consider the sudden addition or removal of one of the authors' nodes, which would likely require of simultaneous mutations. Yeah, not gonna happen...

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