Adaptation, punctuation and information: A rate-distortion approach to non-cognitive 'learning plateaus' in evolutionary process
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Acta Biotheoretica 50 (2) (2002)
We extend recent information-theoretic phase transition approaches to evolutionary and cognitive process via the Rate Distortion and Joint Asymptotic Equipartition Theorems, in the circumstance of interaction with a highly structured environment. This suggests that learning plateaus in cognitive systems and punctuated equilibria in evolutionary process are formally analogous, even though evolution is not cognitive. Extending arguments by Adami et al. (2000), we argue that 'adaptation' is the process by which a distorted genetic image of a coherently structured environment is imposed upon a species.
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