Contribution received from Christopher Wills, Professor Emeritus of Biology, University of California, San Diego
The size increase in the human brain, which is exceptionally large for a primate having such a body mass (Miller, 2019), has led to hypotheses of a co-evolutionary positive feedback driving brain evolution. Proposed mechanisms are positive feedback between brain size and culture or language (Wills, 1993; Deacon, 1998) or between the brain sizes of humans engaged in a socio-cognitive evolutionary arms race (Dunbar, 1998; Miller, 2011). Drawing an analogy with these processes affecting the evolution of individual intelligence, we can expect co-evolution to lead to accelerated progress of AI and human collective intelligence. This is likely to be primarily cultural but given enough time it may lead to biological evolutionary changes such as the recent repeated selection of lactose tolerance in cultures that have domestic animals for milk production.
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- Deacon TW. 1998. The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain. WW Norton & Company.
- Dunbar R. 1998. Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language. Harvard University Press.
- Miller G. 2011. The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature. Anchor.
- Miller I.F. et al, 2019. Quantitative uniqueness of human brain evolution revealed through phylogenetic comparative analysis. Elife, 8, p.e41250.