Re: virus: Random Chance
Thu, 31 Oct 1996 01:02:48 -0600 (CST)

On Tue, 29 Oct 1996, JPS wrote:

> Now, did the replicators stop and say, "hey - if I had a trigger
> mechanism, then I could avoid acid blobs, and survive longer"? I
> sincerely doubt it. If it did, then sure - call it the selfish gene.
> But what really happened? I think it's all random inexact copying -
> random chance. The gene is not an intelligent programmer or designer.
> The gene is stupid. It's a little biochemical glob of goo that makes
> copies of itself - that's all. I am a machine that is well-equipped
> for survival.... I came to exist because a replicator made (inexact)
> copies of itself. That's all - the replicator didn't know what it
> was doing, (and certainly didn't care what it was doing.) Intelli-
> gence comes about like everything else: the result of just another,
> or more likely a series of, evolutionary accidents. Then, since
> intelligent beings were more likely to survive than non-intelligent
> beings, so they did. Plain enough.
> I'm just writing to express a concern I have when reading through
> the literature.... people seem to use phrases like "genes want" or
> "ideas want"... Perhaps this is a "language of convenience", as
> Dawkins says, but it is a misleading language. Dawkins himself
> wrote a vastly popular popularization, but I think he may have
> messed up by 'personifying' genes.

This is the reason why the Strong AI hypothesis is actually serious.

Systems can exhibit mind-like behavior without having a recognizable
basis for it. Defined operationally, it is quite possible that random
selection, plus mutation on a genome that was a short distance away from
an allele (system) with the solution, could fully duplicate the
practical effect of the reasoning chain. It just takes longer without
properly adapted hardware.


/ Towards the conversion of data into information....
/ Kenneth Boyd