The evolution of altruism… in robots

May 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

From Wired Science, again, comes this interesting post about a test of the theory of kin selection in robots.  The paper is published in PLoS Biology this week.  The authors set up a system in which robots had to collect discs that represented food, and were awarded points depending on how much food they collected.  The robots were allowed to keep all the points themselves, or to share with other members of the group; robots with higher points were considered “more fit” and their genes were passed on to the next generation.  The video is from an earlier study, reviewed here, in which the model of kin selection was established; the new paper set out to test how accurately Hamilton’s rule predicts the relationship between degree of relatedness and the evolution of altruistic behavior.  The answer?  Very accurately. 

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