Evolution exists, even in Robots

The word Evolution can get you beat up in some circles.  But, it does exist.  Not only in the form of the physical biological transmision of genes.  But, in the world of social behavior.

Check out this article on Science Daily about Robot evolutionary communication.

During the course of 500 generations, or about a week, the robots evolved to use their blue lights to communicate. Some groups flashed them to tell others where the food was; other groups used them to warn of the presence of poison. As the tactic worked and the genomes of successful communicators survived, the robots became more and more efficient at foraging.

The researchers expected the lone bots to largely ignore each other. But they were surprised, says Sara Mitri, a graduate student involved in the experiment. Bots acting alone developed the same communication strategies, along with some strategies of deception. When surrounded by their kin, the incentive of trying to get their genome–or one similar to theirs–into the next round of the game kept the cooperation going. But when surrounded by “stranger” bots with dissimilar genomes, they flashed their blue lights far from food to sabotage the nonkin bots’ chances for survival. “We did not expect that they would evolve such a sophisticated system of communication,” says Keller. He says the results–presented online today in Current Biology–confirm that kinship and pressure to succeed as a group help give rise to social behavior, even the unsavory kind.


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