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Fitness landscape - Wikipedia
Fitness landscapes are often conceived of as ranges of mountains. There exist local peaks (points from which all paths are downhill, i.e. to lower fitness) and valleys (regions from which many paths lead uphill). A fitness landscape with many local peaks surrounded by deep valleys is called rugged. If all genotypes have the same replication rate, on the other hand, a fitness landscape is said to be flat. An evolving population typically climbs uphill in the fitness landscape, by a series of small genetic changes, until a local optimum is reached.
concept  genetics  population-genetics  evolution  bio  wiki  reference  visual-understanding  exploration-exploitation  models  mutation  local-global 
january 2017 by nhaliday
Overcoming Bias : Chip Away At Hard Problems
One of the most common ways that wannabe academics fail is by failing to sufficiently focus on a few topics of interest to academia. Many of them become amateur intellectuals, people who think and write more as a hobby, and less to gain professional rewards via institutions like academia, media, and business. Such amateurs are often just as smart and hard-working as professionals, and they can more directly address the topics that interest them. Professionals, in contrast, must specialize more, have less freedom to pick topics, and must try harder to impress others, which encourages the use of more difficult robust/rigorous methods.

You might think their added freedom would result in amateurs contributing more to intellectual progress, but in fact they contribute less. Yes, amateurs can and do make more initial progress when new topics arise suddenly far from topics where established expert institutions have specialized. But then over time amateurs blow their lead by focusing less and relying on easier more direct methods. They rely more on informal conversation as analysis method, they prefer personal connections over open competitions in choosing people, and they rely more on a perceived consensus among a smaller group of fellow enthusiasts. As a result, their contributions just don’t appeal as widely or as long.
ratty  postrat  culture  academia  science  epistemic  hanson  frontier  contrarianism  thick-thin  long-term  regularizer  strategy  impact  essay  subculture  meta:rhetoric  aversion  discipline  curiosity  rigor  rationality  rat-pack  🤖  success  2016  farmers-and-foragers  exploration-exploitation  low-hanging  clarity  vague  🦉  optimate  systematic-ad-hoc  metameta  s:***  discovery  focus  info-dynamics  hari-seldon 
december 2016 by nhaliday
Why Does Software Rot?
from one of the comments on HN:
Note, article is not talking about bit rot, I think that's confusing a lot of people.
The point might be clearer as:
"Adaptability and efficiency are opposing priorities."
Ecosystems face this too. A stable environment will lead to adaptations that improve efficiency, while creating new dependencies on everything staying the same. In a sense, species are constantly competing to make the ecosystem more fragile.
If this holds, there are broad impacts to information systems outside of software. broader impact of this. We like to fantasize about the mind being immortal. Maybe we could fix the telemere thing, figure out cancer, hop our brain to a clone, or upload our consciousness to some cloud.
But in my experience, being mentally alive involves some mix of plasticity and progressive refinement. You can't have both forever.
engineering  tech  reflection  hanson  pragmatic  essay  product-management  hmm  thinking  things  insight  tradeoffs  🤖  🖥  exploration-exploitation  frontier  speculation  2016  ratty 
june 2016 by nhaliday

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