Self Interested Ontologists,
Let’s consider a use case for the
bacterial film example. I will propose one, and if there are comments,
please feel free to add your $0.02 or to correct mine as appropriate.
USE CASE 1.
A bacterial film covers teeth. One
bacterium, Strepta, senses a chemical gradient she associates with problems to
come. So Strepta sends a chemical message M to the film at large.
Further away in the film, Chlamy
identifies the message, which she interprets as “Watch it; there is dangerous
antibacterial toothpaste in the vicinity.”
Chlamy senses the direction of the
message, and quickly forms a waist in the plane of the message direction, then splits
at right angles in the cross product, splitting into two daughter cells Bacilla
and Amoebi, while Chlamy ceases to exist as a unit, having split.
Bacilla is on top, and her weight plus her
flailing cilia push Amoebi one micron down into the cavity. When the
noxious chemical (was it really toothpaste?) touches Bacilla, she pops,
spreading proteins, fats and carbohydrates which coat Amoebi in her cavity,
effectively protecting Amoebi from the noxious chemical gradient.
Strepta may share very few genes (self
interest objects) with Chlamy, but Chlamy’s offspring have very accurate
copies of Bacilla’s genes, so both have mutually high self interest.
By splitting, Chlamy preserves her genes. Bacilla preserves her genes,
which are faithful copies of Chlamy’s, by protecting her twin sister
Amoebi with her (Bacilla’s) own life.
What is in it for Strepta? She may
be millions of generations distal from Amoebi, the ultimate beneficiary of
Strepta’s message. So the gradient of the film should somehow
represent the contribution of Strepta’s gene pool to Amoebi, which is
what gives Strepta (through their shared ancestral forebears) genetic reasons
to send her message to distal parts of the film.
Should there be a limit to the distality
with which Strepta uses her cellular resources to send the message far and
wide? It should be related to the likelihood of Strepta’s genes
being preserved as compared to the likelihood that her resources consumed to
send the message are wasted, if the chemical turns out not to be toothpaste but
Wouldn’t statistical decision theory
hold in this use case 1; wouldn’t the likelihood of resource loss be
approximately equal to the likelihood that Amoebi, with genes that are equal to
Strepta’s, is saved from annihilation to continue propagating those genes
into a future film? Wouldn’t the sensors and effectors used by
Strepta evolve to be quantitatively related to the survival benefits enjoyed by
her sacrificed materials?
Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com
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