On Mon, Jun 30, 2003 at 08:32:55PM -0400, Robin Hanson wrote:
> This seems to me to confuse the decision with how the decision is
> represented and implemented. There are presumably many ways to disperse
> a decision process and make it robust to random errors, and some of those
> ways may be compatible with pretty optimal behavior.
Maybe there are ways to implement a decision process that is both robust
and also produces optimal behavior, but it seems that evolution has not
found them. I think at the margin that is available to evolution, there is
a pretty sharp tradeoff between robustness and optimality.
As evidence, I submit the fact that people often behave irrationally even
in very high stakes situations (i.e., high stakes as far as their genes
are concerned, for example choosing a mate or deciding how much parental
investment to allocate to each child), and also often act directly against
the interest of their genes (e.g., deciding not to have children) when
they apply more rational decision processes.