The evolution of communication requires the co-evolution of two abilities: the ability to send useful signals and the ability to react appropriately to perceived signals. This fact poses two related but distinct problems, which are often mixed up: (1) the phylogenetic problem regarding how can communication evolve if the two traits that are necessary for its emergence are complementary and seem to require each other for providing reproductive advantages; (2) the adaptive problem regarding how can communication systems that do not advantage both signallers and receivers in the same way emerge, given their altruistic character. Here we clarify the distinction, and provide some insights on how these problems can be solved in both real and artificial systems by reporting experiments on the evolution of artificial agents that have to evolve a simple food-call communication system. Our experiments show that (1) the phylogenetic problem can be solved thanks to the presence of producer biases that make agents spontaneously produce useful signals, an idea that is complementary to the well-known receiver bias hypothesis found in the biological literature, and (2) the adaptive problem can be solved by having agents communicate preferentially among kin, as predicted by kin selection theory. We discuss these results with respect to both the scientific understanding of the evolution of communication and the design of embodied and communicating artificial agents. © 2010 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Producer biases and kin selection in the evolution of communication how the phylogenetic and the adaptive problems of communication can be solved
Contributo in volume
Evolution of Communication and Language in Embodied and Situated Agents, edited by Nolfi Stefano, Mirolli Marco, pp. 135–159, 2010