Cooperating Mini-Brains Show How Intelligence Evolved
Working together can hasten brain evolution, according to a new computer simulation.
When programmed toِ navigate challenging cooperative tasks, theِ artificial neural networks set upِ byِ scientists toِ serve asِ mini-brains learned toِ work together, evolving theِ virtual equivalent ofِ boosted brainpower overِ generations.
The findings support a long-held theory thatِ social interactions mayِ haveِ triggered brain evolution inِ human ancestors.
It isِ the transition toِ a cooperative group thatِ canِ lead toِ maximum selection forِ intelligence, saidِ study researcher Luke McNally, a doctoral candidate atِ Trinity College Dublin.
It also leads to more sophisticated means of cheating, he added.
McNally andِ his colleagues usedِ artificial neural networks asِ virtual guinea pigs toِ test theِ social theory ofِ brain evolution.
These networks areِ the numerical equivalent ofِ very simple brains.
They’re arranged inِ nodes, withِ eachِ node representing a neuron.
Artificial brain boom
The simulations proved quiteِ good atِ both theِ Prisoner’s Dilemma andِ the snowdrift game, McNally said.
As random mutations inِ the program yielded networks withِ moreِ nodes (an analogy forِ more intelligence), cooperation began toِ pick up.
And asِ soon asِ cooperation began, theِ evolutionary pressure forِ big brains skyrocketed.