sexta-feira, 27 de novembro de 2009

The Intelligent Quotient (IQ) of Evolution

I'm going through the first three chapters of the excellent 1999's "The Age of Spiritual Machines" by Ray Kurzweil. So far, it has been a mix of everything: from cosmology, biology and information theory to computer science, nanoengineering and philosophy. I'm quite amazed on the way Ray was able to deliver all of those breathtaking subjects in less then one hundred pages without making things obscure or even scary to the non-initiated.

Take for instance the discussion going on chapter 2 about the IQ of evolution. He concludes that it should be no better than an infinitesimal quantity greater than zero, given the great lenght of time (in a scale of billions of years) that was needed to evolve some remarkable things such as the human brain. Of course, Ray is agreeing whith many psychologists who evaluate an intelligent process in terms of the elapsed time to reach a solution, i.e., the quicker the better.

The most interesting conclusion drawn here, though, is that all the astonishing complexity observed in Nature is a byproduct of only a slight amount of order encompassed by the emergence of extraordinarily intricate chemical and biological patterns formed apparently by chance.

I'm enjoying it so much!

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