Re: I think this guy has rediscovered Novelty search
- here are my two cents on this paper (I hope I correctly understood the paper and Colins explanations) .
the idea to search for solutions with maximal entropy in the offsprings of the solution is very interesting and Colins translation to our field should be easy to implement (my suggestion is to name this new algorithm "Entropy Search" ;)).
But I agree with Jeff that the merit of this paper is more the algorithmic idea to explore the search space rather than a new fundamental insight relevant for all life-sciences (as they claim).
Some examples are not clear to me, for example the tool use puzzle.
Fig. 3 of the paper indicates that disk 1 releases disk 3. However, in the video you can see that disk 1, 2 and 3 remain at their locations (after a short journey of disk 2). This makes to me more sense as it seems to be a state that offers the most future directions (highest entropy in future states).
How does the validation in the stock-market example look like?
An important variable in their model seems to be tau (the time interval for which future states are evaluated). The decisions of the algorithm seem to heavily depend on tau. If tau is too short, the algorithm might fail to see the future entropy of a given solution. If tau is too long, the search becomes impractical.
The authors associate their algorithm with "adaptive behavior" and the "cognitive niche", which is difficult for several reasons
The term "cognitive niche" itself is controverse. It refers more to goal-oriented action planning and execution, involving communication (language in particular) and cooperation. The algorithm by Wissner-Gross might show behaviour that resembles natural behaviour in some limited simulations but it does not mechanistically explain (and this is what they somehow claim) natural behaviour (of course, implicitly I assume that natural organisms are not driven by causal entropic forces).
I suppose while a human artist would collect all colouring and brushes to paint a picture and then paints a picture, an entropica artist would collect all colouring and brushes and then remain in a stable state to keep all possible future histories alive (unless you increase tau to see that painting a picture brings you into a state with future histories that have even higher entropy).