The University of Sussex

Evolutionary robots: our hands in their brains?

James V. Stone

The study of learning and evolutionary adaptation has yet to provide a theory which is sufficiently detailed to enable the construction of even the most primitive synthetic animal. I argue that this is so for three reasons. First, unlike other scientific fields, such as theoretical physics, there is no universally accepted paradigmatic approach to the study of the brain. Second, there are certain fundamental (highly complex) 'functional primitives' (e.g. types of learning) immanent in nervous systems, which are a necessary prerequisite for perceptual processes, and which are not currently possessed by any animat. Third, even though genetic algorithms are powerful optimisation techniques, the conventional use of genetic algorithms is flawed because it attempts to model only a restricted set of properties found in natural evolutionary systems.

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