Phil 12.1.18

Trying to think about how intelligence at an individual level is different from intelligence at a population level. At an individual level, the question is how much computation to spend in the presence of imperfect / incomplete information. Does it make sense to be an unquestioning acolite? Follow fashion? Go your own way? These define a spectrum from lowest to highest amount of computation. A population that is evolving over time works with different demands. There is little or no sense of social coordination at a population’s genetic level (though there is coevolution). It seems to me that it is more a question of how to allocate traits in the population in such a way that optimises the duration that the genetic pattern that defines the population. The whole population needs a level of diversity. Clone populations (Aspens, etc) fail quickly. Gene exchange increases the likelihood of survival, even though it is costly. Similarly, explore/exploit and other social traits may be distributed unevenly so that there are always nomadic individuals that move through the larger ecosystem, producing a diaspora that a population can use to recover from a disaster that decimates the main population centers. Genes probably don’t “care” if these nomads are outcasts or willing explorers, but the explorers will be probably be better equipped to survive and create a new population, perpetuating the “explorer” genes at some level in the larger genome, at least within some time horizon where there is a genetic, adaptive “memory” of catastrophe.

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