Why evolution may be intelligent, based on deep learning

Moth Orchid flower (credit: Imgur.com) A computer scientist and biologist propose to unify the theory of evolution with learning theories to explain the “amazing, apparently intelligent designs that evolution produces.” The scientists — University of Southampton School of Electronics and Computer Science professor Richard Watson* and Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest) professor of biology Eörs Szathmáry* — say they’ve found that it’s possible for evolution to exhibit some of the same intelligent behaviors as learning systems — including neural networks. Writing in an opinion paper published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, they use “formal analogies” and transfer specific models and results between the two theories in an attempt to solve several evolutionary puzzles. The authors cite work by Pavlicev and colleagues** showing that selection on relational alleles (gene variants)…


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