On The Evolutionary Origin of Symbolic Communication

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  author =       "Paul Grouchy and Gabriele M. T. D'Eleuterio and 
                 Morten H Christiansen and Hod Lipson",
  title =        "On The Evolutionary Origin of Symbolic Communication",
  journal =      "Scientific reports",
  year =         "2016",
  volume =       "6",
  number =       "34615",
  keywords =     "genetic algorithms, genetic programming",
  publisher =    "Nature Publishing Group",
  DOI =          "doi:10.1038/srep34615",
  abstract =     "The emergence of symbolic communication is often cited
                 as a critical step in the evolution of Homo sapiens,
                 language, and human-level cognition. It is a widely
                 held assumption that humans are the only species that
                 possess natural symbolic communication schemes,
                 although a variety of other species can be taught to
                 use symbols. The origin of symbolic communication
                 remains a controversial open problem, obfuscated by the
                 lack of a fossil record. Here we demonstrate an
                 unbroken evolutionary pathway from a population of
                 initially noncommunicating robots to the spontaneous
                 emergence of symbolic communication. Robots evolve in a
                 simulated world and are supplied with only a single
                 channel of communication. When their ability to
                 reproduce is motivated by the need to find a mate,
                 robots evolve indexical communication schemes from
                 initially noncommunicating populations in 99percent of
                 all experiments. Furthermore, 9percent of the
                 populations evolve a symbolic communication scheme
                 allowing pairs of robots to exchange information about
                 two independent spatial dimensions over a
                 one-dimensional channel, thereby increasing their
                 chance of reproduction. These results suggest that the
                 ability for symbolic communication could have emerged
                 spontaneously under natural selection, without
                 requiring cognitive preadaptations or preexisting
                 iconic communication schemes as previously

Genetic Programming entries for Paul Grouchy Gabriele M T D'Eleuterio Morten H Christiansen Hod Lipson