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Robotics Science Technology

Robots 'Evolve' Altruism 360

sciencehabit writes "Computer simulations of tiny robots with rudimentary nervous systems show that, over hundreds of generations, these virtual machines evolve altruistic behaviors. They begin to share small disks — a stand-in for food — with each other so that their comrades' traits are passed on to the next generation. Experts say the study sheds light on why various animals — from bees to humans — help each other out, even when it hurts their own chances to reproduce."
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Robots 'Evolve' Altruism

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  • Yes, it is. I don't think you know what Placebo means.
    You have been completely hoodwinked by people who want your money, don't know what the term 'energy' means, and don't understand confirmation bias. AS well as a host of other issue.

    Listen to this:
    http://www.pusware.com/quackcast/quackcast10.mp3 [pusware.com]

    Read this:
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=6839 [sciencebasedmedicine.org]

    in fact, you should probably read everything here:
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?cat=4 [sciencebasedmedicine.org]

    If you know how to read studies, seriously most eople don't, then do research here:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ [nih.gov]

    If you don't understand what makes a proper study, who to use the, how to properly understand p value and apply the results then freaking learn. As a bonus learn to apply the finding in a Bayesian way.

    Oh, and be sure to read this. In fact, I HIGHLY recommend you read this first:
    http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx [theskepticsguide.org]

    There is no effect above a placebo effect for any Chiropractic 'treatment'.

    Part of the placebo effect is the person doing the test, or treatment. So Yes, chiropractors would claim there was an effect because they are inferring an effect where there is none.

    "What placebo effect? I've read this many times and have never seen documented evidence for it in relation to Chiropractic! "

    Clearly you haven't looked. There are volumes of good* data showing it has no effect above Placebo.

    The site I list usually, if not always, have citation you can follow up on, as well as asked questions.

    *Good as in well done. Double blinded, proper controls, and so on. Which is all In care about in a study.

  • Re:Robots Randroids? (Score:4, Informative)

    by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @03:18PM (#36027586) Homepage

    He didn't make fun of all Libertarians, just followers of Ayn Rand, who said:

    Soviet Russia is the ultimate result, the final product, the full, consistent embodiment of the altruist morality in practice; it represents the only way that that morality can ever be practiced.

    And other fun quotes about the subject [sciencemag.org].

  • by izomiac ( 815208 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2011 @03:29PM (#36027732) Homepage
    Altruism has a functional definition when referring to evolution, since it's more philosophy if you want to think about animals or bacteria acting morally. I can't recall the precise definition off the top of my head, but it's something along the lines of helping another at personal cost. As I recall, there are three major theories as to why organisms do this.

    First is Kin Selection, which is what the article seems fixated upon. Bees and naked mole rats are the classic example. Essentially, it means you'd take a 10% risk of removing yourself from the gene pool to save an individual who shares 15% of your genetic material.

    The second is reciprocity. Vampire bats may give a starving individual a blood meal to save their life, and it's a lot more likely if the starving individual offered a blood meal in the past.

    The third, and most difficult for people who don't understand math to wrap their head around, is trait group selection. Natural selection has a mathematical model. This is a corollary of that model. In nature, animals form large numbers of groups, either transiently or permanently. Within a group, a non-altruist will always out-compete the altruists and reproduce at a higher relative rate. However, groups with more altruists will reproduce at a greater rate relative to groups with more non-altruists. Overall, you often can have altruists increasing in absolute number despite falling in relative concentration within each group. This process is iterated over generations or within multiple (perhaps infinitesimal) groups that the individual forms within it's life. Being a purely mathematical phenomenal, I would suspect this would emerge within any appropriately complex computer model (it did for the one I wrote for my final project in my Evolution elective back in college).

    OTOH, the entire concept of altruism seems offensive to some people. I'm not trying to say any of these are "true altruism", since they happen all the way down to bacteria secreting proteins that deactivate antibiotics, subsequently protecting nearby unrelated bacteria. It's an explanation for observable animal behavior that humans also demonstrate. Plus, "true altruism" isn't a falsifiable hypothesis, so there's little sense in arguing about the moral proclivities of humans, bacteria, chemicals, cultures, or ideas.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"