The Human Fitness Function written 10 years ago

DNA

I was thinking about the article I wrote back in November, “What is the human fitness function?”, and upon some consideration the human fitness function becomes incredibly obvious.

Again using the Genetic Algorithm as our basis, the fitness function ultimately decides how many offspring a particular individual is represented by in a subsequent generation. There is therefore a 1-1 mapping onto the magnitude of the fitness function to the number of offspring an individual will produce. And so, logically, we know that the number of offspring an individual has is directly proportional to the Fitness Function.

Clearly then for a Human, the fitness of a person is determined by the number of babies they produce.

The six legged AGIP dog/dragon
Six legs, but how many offspring?

As discussed in the previous article, the fitness function for an individual could be made up from a number of features, for example ( number_of_teeth ? maximum_speed ? willingness_to_eat_father_of_children) / (susceptibility_to_disease ? number_of_legs ? capacity_of_stomach). In order to work this out for our humans, we need to know a couple of things: 1. How successful are babies that are born? Do they die straight away? Does the postnatal care matter? 2. The genetic features of those that have the most offspring. What are the traits of the individuals that bring the most children into this world?

Now, since we humans have developed a pretty good way of caring for any child[1], regardless of its parenting, any child that is born is a definite success for the parent.

So now onto considering the factors in the left hand side of the equation. Remember, we only want to include genetic factors, but this poses something of an obstacle when considering that it’s actually pretty difficult to measure (useful) genetic traits accurately.

I was hoping to include some coarse results here, but my brief scan of the National Statistics Website didn’t give me much info. So unless someone out there wants to answer the same questions I’m asking here it seems they’ll continue to go unanswered!

I still think there’s some food for thought here. The most significant thing is that if you want to see what the world will look like in the future, look at those that have the most babies, because there’s your future!

[1] Owing to our adoption, fostering and benefits system.

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