Hi Perry,

I just need to confirm some things to make sure that our efforts don't go to waste.

1. The self-replication is not a requirement, right? Although I have yet to think of a way for a solution to not require it, is it not necessarily a requirement based on the guidelines?
2. It does not have to involve known self-replicating molecules. So far we have yet to find a molecule that can self-replicate other than RNA, DNA and proteins, it's not a requirement that it has to be those, correct?
3. The final requirement basically needs a physical demonstration, how exactly is this going to proceed? Assuming we have the high-powered equipment in order to view the chemical processes as it unfolds, what if the process takes sometime to happen? What if it took days? Should we prepare samples if each stage or are we literally going to wait or maybe record the process as it happens for later viewing?
4. The challenge requires that we able to identify the syntax of the code down to the letters, does that mean that we also need to be able to translate whatever code or message that was naturally created?
5. Finally, is it not required that we are able to explain the emergence of consciousness or is it?

Thank you for your time.

6 Replies

Evolution 2.0 Prize

1) Replication should take place.
2) No, it's not a requirement.
3) It doesn't matter how long it takes - hours, days. weeks, months...)
4) Yes.
5) Conciousness is not required (jellyfish have no brains but they do exist).

Neil Caithness
@Perry Marshall

Hi Perry

I'm very surprised at your response to 1) "Replication should take place."

The words "replicate" or "replication" do not appear anywhere in the Guidelines, nor are there any statements that I can think might imply this.

I think the challenge as summarized by Denis Nobel is indeed fascinating - Is there an algorithm that can account for the autonomous origin of a coded messaging system? I also think the discovery/invention of such an algorithm would be scientifically momentous, and patently valuable.

Replication may or may not be an outcome in a system where spontaneous coded messaging originates, and it may or may not be a prior requirement for that spontaneous origin - I think "not" to both. To skew the challenge with this requirement, after the fact, I think is unnecessarily confusing and adds nothing substantive.

Your challenge has galvanized my previously scattered thinking on the issue and I would very much like to participate. But I do think anyone planning on submitting to the challenge is owed some greater clarity on the remit of the challenge. I hope you don't mind me putting it like that, but I do want to engage and I do wish there was a clearer statement.

Do you think that at this stage you are able to amend the challenge guidelines?

Best regards
Neil Caithness
Evolution 2.0 Prize
@Neil Caithness
Replication is not strictly a requirement. Encoding and decoding are. I might have misspoken in my reply to the other person.
Neil Caithness
@Perry Marshall
Thanks for the clarification. Yes, Encoder and Decoder are necessary.
(Sorry, I keep misspelling Denis' name.)
Can we say that an acceptable solution, to be successful, should emulate what DNA already does, but using a digital code?

But in this case, since we do not know exactly, in the smallest details, how DNA works, how could we emulate it?

We know that DNA works, and a little bit like it does, but I do not think our science has discovered the true secret of DNA.

So the challenge is: if you can replicate the DNA, in another way, you have won (!), But no one really understands the DNA and the best way to replicate its functions is using the DNA itself.
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