In my recent post on butterflies and intelligent design, one commenter questioned how one might apply the principles of evolution in one’s life. While evolution might not be helpful for some aspects of modern life, it may have many practical and even profound implications for the economy. For example, if random mutations and natural selection actually were sufficient to bring about the many structures and systems that appear to be the result of brilliant engineering, then we should not be surprised to find major industries applying these same principles. For example, have you noticed how many defects crop up in many American-made automobiles and other products? I suspect that they are there on purpose, giving you a chance to approve or reject a mutation that is just part of a grand scheme leading toward ever better performance. This also explains why so many manufacturers prefer to lay-off skilled workers and replace them with the uneducated: this means more mutations introduced into products, allowing more opportunities for major advances.
Software manufacturers are perhaps the best examples of evolution at work. For example, would you be surprised to learn that Microsoft actually doesn’t use any programmers at all, but simple uses evolution to produce all of its software? At least that’s what one key source has reported. Rather than hiring expensive and ungrateful programmers, they take basic software and allow it to mutate over and over by copying it back and forth to defective hard disks that cause random bits to be flipped, skipped, or chipped. The mutated software is then automatically tested to eliminate programs that can’t run at all, and then the programs that might be functional are given to beta testers to see what they do. Potential winners are then shipped to customers, all of whom are unwitting beta testers. This explains why so many “updates” lack previous features and have new bugs and other fatal flaws. But it’s a small price to pay for evolutionary advance that ultimately might just lead to software that actually seems like some kind of intelligence was behind its design.
See? Makes sense to me.