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Complexity Increase

Humans have been practicing applied evolution since the dawn of agriculture. However, our management of evolution has taken place at the ``micro'' level, the alteration of existing species. We have never been able to harness and manage the more creative properties of evolution: the origin of new species, and the emergence of complexity itself. We are able to guide the evolution of poor quality wild corn into high quality domestic corn, however, we can not guide the evolution of algae into corn.

The inoculation of the process of evolution into media created by humans opens a new chapter in our relationship to evolution. Work with the new synthetic evolutions may allow us to enter into a new relationship with evolution, in which we can manage these more creative aspects of the process. However, this will require new approaches to working with evolution. These higher objectives can not be achieved through the traditional approach of breeding captive populations (applying fitness functions).

Thomas S.Ray
Mon Jul 15 15:51:28 JST 1996