Evolution evolves evolvability. It seems intuitive, fairly well established theoretically (Adami 2000) (Heylighen 1996), and obvious just by looking around that evolution leads to an increase in complexity. But increasingly complex evolved systems are not designed from scratch. Each more complex system is an evolutionary step away from something that is usually a bit less complex. The only way such an evolutionary process can succeed is if the evolutionary sequence provides both (a) the specific features needed at each step and (b) a framework (or architecture) that can support the evolutionary process itself. In other words, it is only those natural architectures that support and facilitate evolutionary change that survive. The process of evolution itself evolves evolvability.
Adami, C., C. Ofria, and T. C. Collier, “Evolution of biological complexity,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 97, Issue 9, 4463-4468, April 25, 2000. Available as of January 31, 2006: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/97/9/4463.
Heylighen, F., “The Growth of Structural and Functional Complexity during Evolution,” The Evolution of Complexity" (Kluwer Academic Publishers), 1996. Available as of January 31, 2006: http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/Papers/ComplexityGrowth.html.
Monday, January 30, 2006
For a paper I'm working on, I just wrote the following, which I think is a really neat idea.