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Don't invent, evolve

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My Opinion of Don't invent, evolve:

The December 8th issue of The Economist had such a titled article on evolutionary algorithms. The gist of the article is that machines (computers) can design things more efficiently through evolutionary simulations than humans can.

The article is rather uninteresting, rattling-off enough examples of evolutionary design to cause a rural board of education to have a collective annuerism until the final paragraph when it mentions a group that was trying to design a product without running afoul of a Cisco patent. Their resulting product, evolved based-upon a set of criteria, was both legally unencumbered by the patent and supplied superior performance.

Given the frequent decrying of the modern patent system, particularly in the U.S., this stands as a poignant example of a success for it.