Competition and Cooperation
Nature isn't all "red of tooth and claw."Competition and Cooperation
The evolutionary algorithm is, for me, something about reality that is as significant as gravity.
The EA presents something that is inevitable in the sense that
you have something that replicates,
with variation among the replicants
and a selection pressure that makes some replicant replicate more than others
as time goes on the replicants will be better and better at meeting the selection pressure
Darwin first articulated the EA as Natural Selection and he discovered it by studying the biological world in great detail. But as Dawkins and many others have shown, the EA functions outside of biology too. Much as I appreciate the explanatory scope of the EA we have keep in mind that it's a purposeless and mindless algorithm. It has no goal and can't perceive anything. Crucially - the EA doesn't care about anything. The phrase "red of tooth and claw" kind of reaches for that idea.
In an ecosystem everything is competing for resources for survival and replication against everything else. But there's also a countervailing tendency. Sometimes it works for things to cooperate with each other within the competition. We see many many examples of that cooperation in nature ranging from schools of fish to parents that nurture their offspring.
Human society is perhaps unique on Earth in that people aren't creatures instinctively bound to either cooperate or compete with each other. They do both in a complicated hurley burley type interaction.
Among people both competition and cooperation can lead to good or bad outcomes - it depends.
Competition is good if it leads to something being done better or more efficiently for instance - but then what is to be done if that throws people out of work? And that really requires community cooperation. Which kind of sticks in the craw of those who did something better - they may benefit from the cooperation but they also take a "keep your hands off may stack Jack" sort of stance.
And that's good competition. There's also bad competition.
People can compete by slyly passing as much of their costs onto others as they can.
They can compete by cheating in all sorts of ways.
They can compete by intimidation.
They can compete by fraud.
Humans tend to band together into cooperating groups that then compete with others - the group is generally more powerful and so better at competing than individuals. Then of course there is nothing to restrict those internally cooperative groups from competing with other groups in any way they can. I think this is a fractal phenomenon - like turbulence in fluid flows.
These days a lot of people stand against cooperation in the name of 'freedom'. But it's curious thing - these people seem to hate competition. For instance, rather than enable the competition of free elections republicans are cooperating in massive gerrymandering and restrict the vote efforts.
What do you think?