Archive for the ‘algorithm’ Category

Evolution is not just for biology, it’s a way of creating novelty, knowledge, and growth

February 2, 2008

We are accustomed to thinking of evolution in a biological context, but modern evolutionary theory views evolution as something much more general.

Evolution is an algorithm; it is an all-purpose formula for innovation, a formula that, through its special brand of trial and error, creates new designs and solves difficult problems.

Evolution can perform its tricks not just in the “substrate” of DNA, but in any system that has the right information-processing and information-storage characteristics.

In short, evolution’s simple recipe of “differentiate, select, and amplify” is a type of computer program — a program for creating novelty, knowledge, and growth.  Because evolution is a form of information processing, it can do its order-creating work in realms ranging from computer software to the mind, to human culture, and to the economy.

The Origin of Wealth by Eric D. Beinhocker