Evolution and adaptation Evolution is the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. “The survival of the ﬁttest”
Evolution and adaptation Evolution is the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. “The survival of the ﬁttest” Rep licators lection Se Varia tio n
Biological v cultural evolution Genes Memes v http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/wheatﬁelds/2073336603 http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/40964293@N07/4160835158
Selection pressures Prey Social factorsPredators Motivation Mating Genes MemesPathogens Meaning& disease Utility / Competition function Physical ????? environment
Designs as memes Designs are ideas that are culturally inherited. Good designs serve a purpose and persist. Poor designs get forgotten. The unit of selection is the idea rather than the design itself.http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/dvanzuijlekom/7324829530
What can we learn aboutdesign & innovation from evolutionary systems?
Evolution as experimentation “The Creator, if He exists, has an inordinate fondness for beetles" JBS Haldanehttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/quasimondo/4108216751
Failure is the norm Species #fail Product #fail 99.9% of all species that have 80-95% of new products fail in ever existed are extinct. the ﬁrst year (Source: Acupoll)http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/bugmonkey/2844115494
Innovations are not that innovative!http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/satanslaundromat/454779865
The ‘adjacent possible’ Most successful ideas & innovations tend not be that different from what already exists. On a ﬁtness landscape, feasible steps are the closest steps in gene space or meme space.
Mixing it up Japanese quail tend to prefer mates who are cousins - optimal outbreeding Daphnia (water ﬂeas) seasonally switch from asexual to sexual reproduction. Sex allows you to ‘experiment’ and create new gene combinations BUT you don’t necessarily want to lose the good combinations you have either. New innovations often come from mixing up ideas too.http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/doug88888/2912619532
Can ideas be ‘too innovative’?http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/33134305@N04/3090115697
Evolution is not gradual Although evolution is the result of small changes, it is not necessarily gradual. It is characterised by periods of relative calm, followed bursts of speciation when opportunity (i.e. environmental changes). This is punctuated equilibrium. Source: OSX Dailyhttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/60298687@N06/7844134164
Can innovation be too fast? RNA viruses mutate rapidly, but not so rapidly that they lose self- identity (error catastrophe). Could our desire to innovate ultimately be harmful? Can users/ consumers keep up with the pace of change? (gadget fatigue)http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/7593077@N03/2650612822/
The Prisoner’s DilemmaA classic from ‘Game Theory’• 2 suspects, arrested on suspicion of a crime• Put in separate cells and asked to testify against the other• So, can either testify (defect) or stay silent (cooperate) http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/state-records-nsw/4908458465
The Prisoner’s Dilemma Played once : Must DEFECT But what happens if you repeat the process?
The Prisoner’s Dilemma Played once : Must DEFECT But what happens if you repeat the process? The best strategy is Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma is TIT-FOR-TAT (be nice, then follow opponent). i.e. the best possible strategy in the long term is a cooperative one.
What does this mean for UX?Can relationships with businesses/brands learn from the Prisoner’s dilemma?• Initial ‘courtship’ v long term relationship• Reward points as a long-term strategy
The Handicap PrincipleSome animals signal their quality topotential mates through visual displays.To be effective, these need to be‘honest’ signals (i.e. costly to produce).They are, effectively, a handicap asthey may reduce ability to carry outother tasks (ﬂying, foraging etc).Are there equivalents in design?
Optimal foraging theory • Animals forage optimally (or nearly) • Prey & patch choice can be predicted and tested experimentally • Works for human hunter- gatherers toohttp://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/life_in_megapixels/6250844605/
Information foraging theory • Humans as ‘informavores’ • Foraging theories can be applied to people searching for information (Exaptation) • Information ‘scent’http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/metrolibraryarchive/3985318712
The two main strategies are to make your content look like a nutritious meal andsignal that its an easy catch. These strategiesmust be used in combination: users will leave if the content is good but hard to ﬁnd, or if its easy to ﬁnd but offers only empty calories.