Posts tagged with evolution
Oh, much less. The total memory was four kilobytes. And he did an amazing lot with that. Especially a biologist who was there at the time, called Nils Barricelli, did simulated evolution amazingly well with a memory of four kilobytes. He developed models of evolving creatures forming an ecology, and they showed punctuated equilibrium, exactly the way real species do. It was astonishing how much he could get out of that machine.
In game theory the word “strategy” means a fully specified contingency plan. Whatever happens—be it a sequence of things, a conditional branching of their responses and my responses—∃ a contingency.
(A function is a ≥1-to-1 association from elements of a source domain to elements of a target codomain. I’ll owe ya a post on how this is not the most intuitive way to think about functions. Because it depends which domains you’re mapping from and to. Think for example about automorphisms—turning something over in your hand—versus measures—assigning a size to something.)
For example, extraversion vs introversion. This is one of the less disputatious dimensions of human variation from the MBTI. We can observe that some people (like me) gain more energy by being around people and feel like sh*te when they spend too much time alone, whereas others (like my best friend) replenish their reserves by being alone and drain them when they go out in public.
- Maybe when you were young, your parents always made you do chores whenever they saw you, but didn’t particularly seek you out when you were out of sight. So you learned to hide in your room, avoid chores, and develop your personal life there. Hence became introverted as a response to environmental factors.
- When I was young, I used to think I was introverted. Really I was just widely disliked and unpopular for being an ugly nerd. But later in life I developed social skills and had the fortune to meet people I liked, who liked me back. In response to who was around, I became extraverted.
I can think of other aspects of myself that are obviously responses to situational stimuli rather than innate constants.
- If I were raised in a different culture, my sexuality would be different. In my culture, homosexuality is seen as “You boink / date / marry from your own sex”, but in ancient Sparta women all gayed on each other as a matter of ritual before the men came home from war. But they didn’t call themselves homos, and neither did the Roman men who sexually touched each other. It was just a different conception of sex (one I can’t fathom) where “Just because I regularly crave and do sexual stuff with people of my own sex, doesn’t mean I’m gay!”
Point being this is all the result of inputs; born Puritan, think sex = evil. Born Roman, “sexuality is a behaviour, not an identity”.
- If I ate more food and exercised less, my fat:muscle ratio would increase.
- If I meditated more, I would feel more at peace.
- If I read more maths, I would know more maths. More people would think of me as a mathematician—but not because it was inevitable or inherent in me to be a mathmo, rather because I chose to do maths and became the product of my habits.
- If I fixed more bikes, I would be able to fix bikes faster.
- If I made more money, I would go to different places, meet different people, be exposed to their response functions to their own pasts and presents and anxieties and perceptions, a vector field of non-Markovian baggage, and all of this history and now-ness would sum up to some stimuli-complex that would cause some response by me, and change me in ways I can’t now know.
- Our friendship could have been so much more, but we sort of let it fall off. Not for any reason, but it’s not so strong now.
- Our love could have been so much less volatile, but I slept around, which had repercussions for your feelings toward me, which repercussed to my feelings toward you, which repercussed …. (multiplier effect / geometric series)
Besides being motivation for me to learn more maths to see what comes out of this way of thinking about people when you layer abstract algebra over it, this view of people is a reminder to
- release the egotism, and
- not take too literally what I think I’m seeing of whomever I’m interacting with.
Someone who piss me off may not be “a jerk”, it may not be about me whatever, s/he may be lag-responding to something from before I was there. Or s/he may not have adapted to a “nice guy” equilibrium of interacting with me. Who knows. I’m not seeing all of that person’s possibility, just a particular response to a particular situation.
On the other hand, if they really are acting wrong, it’s up to me to address the issue reasonably right away, rather than let my frustration passive-aggressively fester. Wait ten years for revenge and they’ll be a different person by then.
The final suggestion of people-as-functions is that there’s always something buried, something untapped—like part of a wavefunction that will never be measured, or a button on a machine that never gets pressed. You may see one version of yourself or someone else, but there’s more latent in you and in them—if you’re thrown into a war, a divorce, the Jazz Age, the Everglades, a hospice, a black-tie dinner, poverty, wealth, a band, a reality show about life under cruel premodern conditions—that may bring out another part of them.
UPDATE: peacemaker points out the similarity between people-as-response functions and the nature/nurture debate. I think this viewpoint subsumes both the nature and the nurture side, as well as free will.
- Evolution shaped our genes in response to environmental pressures (see for example the flies’ eyes chart above).
- My assumptions & predilections are a response to a more immediate “environment” than the environment of evolutionary adaptation.
- And I exercise free will over how I respond to the most immediate “environment” which is just the stimuli I get from you and the Wu Tang Clan.
UPDATE 2: As I think through this again, I feel quantum measurement really is a great metaphor for interacting with people. You only evoke one particular response-complex from a person on that particular time. And the way you evoke it perturbs the “objective” underlying thing. For example if yo’re introduced to someone in a flirtatious way versus in a business setting.
- how to make visual representations of music
- (in paintings, video games, sculpture)
- 5 constraints on a composition that are necessary (but not sufficient) for it to sound good
- global statistical properties of songs
- why 20th century classical music had little audience
- a random painting is much less offensive to the eye than random notes are to the ear
- “I came up with these 5 principles using my brain, which is a kind of crude statistical device”
- the piano is essentially a line
- [NB: linear ⊃ monotonic ⊃ totally ordered]
- violin/voice musicians know that notes ⊂ continuous space, but the piano does us a favour by constraining us to a subset of those notes
mod 13= circle
- (equivalence classes of octaves —
- directed segments, unordered tuples
- musical translation = mathematical transposition, musical inversion = mathematical rotation
- The fact that most people don’t have most perfect pitch (things sound the same in different keys) may be so that we can understand that, despite pitch differences in male/female adults’ speech and children’s speech, they are saying the same words.
- “It’s as if we couldn’t tell the difference between red and blue, but we were highly sensitive to the-difference-between-red-and-orange and the-difference-between-blue-and-green.
- [Also: this.]
- Minor vs major is the other isometry of the circle (besides rotation): reflection.
- “Harmonic progression is like zone defence”
- Minute 26: Awesome. Watch how to move around in 2-chord space — seen on a circle and on Tymoczko’s grid
Thank you, steel manufacturing companies, and thank you, chemical processing companies, for giving us the time to read. —Hans Rosling
Totally good point about how the mechanisation of the rich world has allowed us to have so many professors, doctors, photographers, lawyers, and social media managers.
But I wonder: why is laundry so important?
There has to be a good reason; no one working with their hands for 70+ hours a week would choose to do an extra 10 hours of labour a week if they could avoid it. But I know from experience that, in my world, if you don’t do laundry for months at a time, nothing bad happens to you.
What did I do instead of laundry? I’ve taken a few options, some of which would have been available to poor humans now or in the past:
- wash clothing with the excess soapy water that falls off me in the shower (not available to them)
- turn clothing inside out and leave it outside (requires a lot of socks but before the 19th century no one was wearing socks anyway)
The second you would think poor people could do pretty easily. I used my porch, which got sun and wind and blew away, over time, most of the smells
So what’s the reason they couldn’t do that? I have a few theories.
- They laboured with their bodies, getting much sweatier than I do at my computer.
- Bugs and germs were more prevalent in their environment and got in their clothing if it weren’t soaped — or at least exposed to ammonia rising off the castle pissing grounds.
- They got dirtier, muddier, muckier. But why would you need to deal with that?
- Having clean clothes raised your appeal to the opposite sex, and social status went along with that as it goes along with attractiveness today. Clean isn’t necessary; it’s just sexy (on average).
Anyway, I wonder if it isn’t the other changes to the modern OECD environment (reduction in bugs and reduction in manual labour) that made for the progress. Nowadays I just use the washer when I’ve exercised or played in the mud.
If the wash was always just a way of keeping up with the Joneses, however, then we can’t congratulate the washing machine for saving us necessary labour — it just helps us live out our autocompetitive rank obsessions in other ways now the elbow’s been surpassed on that dimension.
I’m looking for a quote I saw years ago. It went something like this:
Here are two different stories of Creation.
The first is that G-d sculpted each and every animal, flower, fungus, gymnosperm, archaeobacterium, and primate individually, like the most colossal micromanager ever known to the Cosmos.
The second story is that G-d was smart enough to write a “computer” program which, from a few simple rules, would evolve not only the stars, galaxies, and planets, but also all of the life-forms mentioned above (as well as whatever’s yet to come).
Which Creator would you find more impressive?
I’m pretty sure the writer was an Israeli game theorist. Can anybody help me source this please?
Moore’s three-dimensional law is a remarkable “epiphenomenon” … a statistical regularity that emerges from a swarm of unknown, mutually independent activities. In that sense, it resembles the “law” that says that each Labor Day weekend, about 450 automobile fatalities will occur in the United States.
This nationwide prediction can be made years in advance and will turn out quite accurate, despite the fact that the location and reason of each crash — each constituent microevent — are of course totally unpredictable.
Doug Hofstadter, Moore’s Law, Artificial Evolution, and the Fate of Humanity
grâce à Virgil