Re: Lamarckian?

From: Chris Taylor (
Date: Thu Jan 10 2002 - 13:18:36 GMT

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    Jeremy Bradley wrote:

    > You wrote
    > ....this appeals because we could construct a Darwinian 'learning'
    >>machine (effectively a sort of neural genetic algorithm) much more
    >>simply than a Lamarckian version (which must have a facility to learn
    >>for a start).
    > Hi all
    > This sort of sentiment worries me as I see that intelligence, even within
    > one culture, is subjective. Just think how many times we hear the term
    > "common sense" used to describe basic understandings within specific
    > spheres of knowledge. Will your 'learning machine' attempt to create a
    > homogenous 'right' (no pun intended) form of learning?
    > I also have problems with notions of 'fitness'. Is fitness might, right,
    > lucky, devious, savage, egotistic, careless of the ramifications of its
    > actions - who is to say?
    > Chomsky says that the Western nations have been successful because they
    > were able to completely inculcate violence - will that make us 'fit' to
    > survive. Is a culture that threatens to ruin the habitat which is
    > owned by the rest of its species 'intelligent' (fit) enough to survive.
    > Will you impose your version of intelligence on those who already
    deny that
    > you have any, or are we to revert to the convert or perish methods of
    > colonisation?
    > What meme drives this thought - 'might-is-right'?
    > Jeremy

    Not quite the angle I expected comment from, but some interesting points...

    By learning I mean stuff on the level of matching a behaviour to a
    scenario to achieve an outcome; I'm not sure that broaches any cultural
    issues. Also I never tried to define intelligence in my post (other than
    as a side ref to AI; but if pushed I'd say it was learning things
    (mostly associative), then using the knowledge in the future at a level
    above simple action-reaction pairs - i.e. pulling out generics from
    specifics. My definitions have to apply to animals as well as humans.

    As for the stuff you're getting at - notions of better/worse and
    higher/lower, I eschew them completely. The principle is really survival
    of the fit *enough*, with fitness defined as persistence in the world
    through successive generations. Also, true altruism is never fit because
    cheating (non-participation/reciprocation) is always fitter. There is no
    such thing as altruism - charity (to wax cultural) is about the feelgood
    buzz for the giver, and depends heavily on stranger exclusion. No
    examples of altruism exist in biology.

       Chris Taylor ( »people»chris

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