And not just any robots - robots that walk, hunt each other, evolve their shape, and which are even altruistic - a distinctly mammalian trait. All of that was evolved; starting with nothing more than a collection of parts and a simple mutation/selection algorith.What's more, the study teaches us about evolution, to wit:
- Small mutations can lead to very rapid changes in form/behaviour. All of the behaviours appeared quite quickly in these experiments - usually a functioning behaviour/structure would appear in a few dozen generations, and after 100 or so generations the behaviour/structure would be highly defined.
- Once a behaviour/trait is formed, it is optimised very rapidly.
- Very simple systems (in this case consisting of a few hundred parts - compared to the thousands to tens-of-thousands of genes in living organisms) can be moulded by evolution into extremely complex beings, capable of complex - even cooperative - behaviours.