Lamarckian Evolution
Evolution through acquired characteristics. The concept was named after the early Industrial Age Old Earth scientist and evolutionist Jean Baptiste Lamarck, who explored the idea in detail, although the fundmental idea is not original to him. He thought to explain long term evolutionary change through this mechanism; a process where characteristics acquired by the parent are passed on to the child (i.e. giraffe ancestors stretched their necks more and more, passing on their long necks to their children). It was subsequently shown (Middle Industrial to Atomic Age Old Earth) shown that the mainspring of Terragen biotic evolution was actually the result of Darwinian selection and Mendelian inheritance; even though some traits are inherited in a Lamarckian fashion through epigenetic effects and have an effect from generation to generation they do not account for speciation.

Lamarckian Evolution in the case of AIs and even some highly reactive neogen biont clades is a valid description of their modes of longer term generational change.
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  • Lamarckian AI - Text by Peter Kisner
    AIs that follow a Lamarckian route of evolution through self-modification. Each generation of AIs designs the next generation to be an improvement or specialization over the previous. And/or AIs are able to alter themselves so thoroughly during the course of their "life" that they effectively specialize to fit their environment over the course of one generation. Contrast this with Darwinian AI.
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Development Notes
Text by Peter Kisner
additions by Stephen Inniss
Initially published on 03 December 2001.