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Nick_Bostrom2 comments on No Evolutions for Corporations or Nanodevices - Less Wrong

28 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 17 November 2007 02:24AM

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Comment author: Nick_Bostrom2 18 November 2007 12:50:00AM 8 points [-]

Eliezer, the criteria you list may be necessary for the evolution of *complex* structures. But I think it's worth highlighting that practically important evolutionary results could come about without the need for new complex structures. For example, suppose we have a population of controlled self-replicating nanobots, built unwisely in such a way that they keep replicating until a separate breaking circuit kicks in and shuts off replication. Now suppose there is a mutation in the code of one nanobot such that its offspring lack a working breaking circuit. Then this mutant nanobot could start an exponential goo. There need only be a one-step selection, but the results could be dramatic. Similarly with Hanson's colonizers that burn the cosmic commons - they might not gain much in complexity through evolution, but evolutionary selection could ensure that a certain type of colonizer (which was present but very rare at time=0) will eventually dominate at the frontier.