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.