Yeah, it's closer to animal husbandry. Again though, are labels a big deal? This is a great idea.
It is awesome, although Artificial Life
(rather than AI) has a semi-quack history, it's a fascinating way to play around with emergence. I would say labels are important, however, otherwise how do you hope to understand what's really going on?
example is not altruism.
And, astonishingly, the robots were even able to evolve altruistic behaviour, in a task that involved pushing tokens around. Some could be pushed single-handed, earning the robot one 'fitness point'; others required two robots, gaining the whole group one point.I get confused where the line between mutually beneficial and altruistic is drawn at the species level. At a genetic level, isn't it all selfish?
For example, I think a better test for altruism would be if helping another bot (for simplicity, of the same species - not a widely differing genome) push their token didn't necessarily grant a direct benefit to the individual who was helping.
example is selfish.
robot that tries to push 2robot tokens gets more points than if the same robot didn't try to push 2robot token.
if robot benefits, robot not altruistic.
indirect benefits count.
I agree this far.
it would be altruism if the robot did not benefit, but other robots did.
The behaviour which is influenced by the genetic code is what is being used to drive the selection mechanism though. So if robot 1 chooses to help robot 2 instead of choosing a more lucrative activity - it will end up lower on the league table as an individual, but the genes which prompted that behaviour will be higher up on the genetic league table. I hope I'm not mangling it too much to use the metaphor of individual vs. manufacturer leaderboards in Formula One racing.
A problem I have is how did the robots identify those with similar genomes? If it's an innate sense then that's pretty much cheating.
So an individual can still benefit from an altruistic act, as long as there is a strong expectation that they benefit less than they would have otherwise done if the individual had pursued a more selfish goal.
Although, by both our definitions, playing the lottery is altruistic.
evolutionary pressure can't create altruism. because pressure only exists if there is benefit.
I think you have to separate the individual (performs the actions) from the genetic (exists in multiple individuals and makes some actions more likely than others). Otherwise, altruism doesn't exist and is a meaningless concept.