May 9, 2004
Evolutionary Intelligence. Harvard Graduate and Doctorate biologist Francisco Jose (Ze) Ayala posted a link to his paper in Google Group comp.ai last year. I didn’t noticed the significance then. The guy has serious credentials in biological evolution and its detailed evidence in the fossil record (S J Gould has cited his work). His paper proposed a mathematical model for evolving a complex intelligent brain from simple neural networks with relatively simple computational and selection functions.
Presumably EI per se is a well enough established concept, though no doubt the relationship between genetic physical biological cellular evolution and the memetic mental evolution is not yet understood. (This is the whole mind-matter “science of consciouness” agenda, quantum or otherwise.)
Interestingly Ze also notes parallels with Cellular Automata, and the then recent publication of Wolfram’s ANKOS, which claimed that all the worlds complexity can be created from relatively simple CA’s.
EI as a mathematical model seems to have died a damp squib in 1999 / 2000 if Ze’s web site is anything to go by. (His only two threads in Google Groups died with little intelligent input. Lots of lectures / talks 1998/9 &2000. Nice paper summarising Evolution on the Counterbalance Meta-Library web site.
Interesting conclusion [Quote] Scientific knowledge, like the description of size, materials, and geometry of Guernica, is satisfying and useful. But once science has had its say, there remains much about reality that is of interest, questions of value and meaning that are forever beyond science’s scope. [Unquote] Definite tendencies here and elsewhere that non-scientific interest leads towards the religious as well as philosophical, but hey.
Actually this whole paper is worth a read, though his teleological view of evolution is initially a little disconcerting. True the popping into existence of anything from nothingness doesn’t bear thinking about, but for the most part his teleological evolution is “internal” non-conscious (emergent / metaphorical I’d say) rather than “external” or conscious. His coda on scientific knowledge is salutory. [Quote above] and [Quote] Science is a way of knowing, but it is not the only way … In The Myth of Sisyphus, the great French writer Albert Camus asserted that “we learn more about ourselves and the world from a relaxed evening?s perception of the starry heavens and the scents of grass than from science?s reductionistic ways” … a scientific view of the world is hopelessly incomplete. [Unquote]
[Quote] Francisco Ayala was recently  profiled in a major story in The New York Times as the “Renaissance Man of Evolutionary Biology.” He is professor of biology and philosophy at the University of California at Irvine, where he specializes in evolutionary genetics, using DNA to track the path and flow of evolution. He has published 12 books and 650 articles. He is past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). [Unquote] Source “Closer to Truth” TV Media Production Channel - no sign of activity since 2001/2 - their last show “Will Intelligence Fill The Universe ?”
Interesting person I’d not heard of. Obviously doesn’t have Brockman as his publicist.
Interesting Post-Grad Philosophy course at UCI “Ontology of Intentionality”, featuring the work of David Chalmers. The increasingly tangled web.