The Neuronal Replicator Hypothesis: Novel Mechanisms for Information Transfer and Search in the Brain

author: Eörs Szathmáry, Department of Plant Taxonomy and Ecology, Institute of Biology, Eötvös Loránd University
author: Chrisantha Fernando, School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Queen Mary, University of London
published: Jan. 25, 2012,   recorded: December 2011,   views: 5690


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Francis Crick called Gerald Edelman's "Neural Darwiniam" Neural Edelmanism because he could not identify any units of evolution, i.e. entities that multiply and have hereditary variation. Whilst a sufficient condition for the production of adaptation is to satisfy George Price's equation, a condition that most hill-climbers, competitive learning, and reinforcement learning algorithms, and Edelman's neuronal groups do satisfy, a full Darwinian dynamics of populations in which there is information transfer between individuals, i.e. true units of evolution, has additional algorithmic properties, notably the capacity for the evolution of evolvability to structure exploration (proposal) distributions. This capacity for Darwinian populations to learn has inspired us to search for true units of evolution in the brain. To this end we have identified several candidate units with varying degrees of biological plausibility, and have showed how these units can replicate within neuronal tissue at timescales from milliseconds to minutes. Thus we present a theory that is legitimately called Darwinian Neurodynamics.

This is joint work with Chrisantha Fernando.

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