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P.S.S. - I am not very good at writing English, so please be patient with me.

Humans have decided to simulate a diversity of sapiens species in a very harsh world. Like humans in the period of dinosaurs. The simulation for argument sake is equal to our reality.

My Question:

Is it possible that the evolution of the sapiens have conceived capacities for them, superior to the modifications that humans were capable of creating in reality?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by Mołot, StephenG, John, sphennings, SPavel Nov 14 '17 at 18:31

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Adapt to anything could mean anything you need to clarify what this means, intelligence could be called this. $\endgroup$ – John Nov 14 '17 at 14:34
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    $\begingroup$ A lot of our best design ideas come from nature, evolution is not as good a process as human design but it has been running for a much much longer. $\endgroup$ – John Nov 14 '17 at 14:38
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    $\begingroup$ You need to define "superior" for this question to be answerable. Evolution, as pointed out recently on Universe Factory, doesn't deal with "best" but with "whatever works", and superiority could be defined in many ways. Is it intelligence? Is it how fast one can run? Is it sheer physical strength, or ability to regrow limbs, or biological immortality, etc. Notice how humanity is definitively outclassed in most of those by other species in nature; does that make humans inferior? It depends on what "superior" is. $\endgroup$ – Palarran Nov 14 '17 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ Two massive problems: first, if one can simulate it then there is no need to do the costly practical experiment; experiments are done when we cannot use a computer to compute the result. Second, I understand that this "organism" is actually a mathematical structure in a simulation, it's not real; humans created the simulator and the simulator created it, and if the power is cut this "organism" goes to bit heaven where all bits go when the computer shuts down. What does "nature" have to do with numbers manipulated by a computer program? $\endgroup$ – AlexP Nov 14 '17 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ The simulator is able to recreate almost an exact copy of a solar system, with planets like Earth, to a point at humans are still capable of discoverimg new thins with them. If you think about it, computer power and artificial intelligence will make programming so much more advanced, image that thry make a programm with all the data of a planet, capable of recreating a exact copy and if you add more stuff in the mix, maybe the planet will be totally different. $\endgroup$ – user43339 Nov 14 '17 at 17:21
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There's nothing we currently can do that's "better" to what "mother nature" conceived.

We can build "bigger", "stronger", "faster" subsystems: nothing of what we built to date is self-sustaining, let alone self-replicating.

We are speaking about building self-sufficient and self-replicating factories for planet colonization, but that's speculation never tested, very likely to break down at the first "unforeseen" event.

Today's Genetic Engineering is all about re-mixing genes already present in Nature, possibly re-synthesizing them from scratch. AFAIK there is not even research (yet) about devising genes to fulfill functions unavailable in Nature somewhere (e.g.: some new, useful, protein).

So the answer is: Of course mother nature knows better (now and for a long span in the future).

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  • $\begingroup$ Yeah for science! We are good at reusing what has been made. Add that hypothetically we could build better organisms but it would require an understanding of biology far beyond what we know now (think a thousand times are knowhow or more. ) $\endgroup$ – Garret Gang Nov 14 '17 at 21:06
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At our current level of technology Mother Nature is indeed capable of making things superior to what we can make in many cases. We are not able to create new fully fledged independent species yet, or at least not multicellular ones.

Many animals use what might be called “advanced technology” such as bats. When echo location was discovered in bats the technology the bats were using was far in advance of anything in use at the time. Even today I think we might struggle to replicate the various complex sonar and image processing techniques that bats use such as such as can be found here and here

Especially if considering the power source, size and mobility of a bat.

This is just one example of many. However there are many areas where human technology exceeds Mother Nature’s abilities. There are structures which are very hard to evolve as there is no series of slight modifications that can produce them by evolution. Additionally material production may be impossible or too expensive biologically. So we don’t see animals with titanium shells or wheels or other similar discontinuous structures.

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As a designer, Mother Nature is rather slapdash and a bit rubbish. She doesn't plan, she doesn't have an end point in view - evolution and natural selection is all about just throwing something together from the materials you have to hand. So it is problematic to use words such as "superior" when discussing nature.

An analogy... to make a 'superior' meal, a chef will decide on the recipe, search out the finest ingredients, then prepare them in a very precise way and cook them for the exact correct time. What nature does is more like you or I deciding to cook something after the shops have shut - and therefore having to make our meal from whatever random ingredients are left in the fridge. If all we have is milk, broccoli and ice cream, we could 'invent' the broccoli milkshake, but we can't make chicken curry, no matter who much we want to eat it.

Nature has two solutions to problems - specialists and generalists. You might argue that specialists are superior, because they are very good at out-competing the generalists in one particular area. So a cheetah is a fast pursuit specialist - it has a light, long body and an extra flexible spine to make it very fast. The cheetah is 'superior' to the leopard or lion or hyena if all you are thinking about is speed to run down medium-sized, swift antelopes. But as soon as you need to expand your prey to something else - to take down large prey like African buffalo, or dig up underground prey like warthog dens, for instance - or to defend your prey from stronger predators, then the more 'generalist' leopards, lions and hyenas are the winners, not the 'superior' cheetah.

So you need to think about exactly what features you want to have your artificial creatures to have. Then you need to think about what specialists Nature might have created which can beat it. For instance, if running faster than a cyborg dog is all your story requires, then a cheetah can do it. If running fast, and swimming fast and climbing fast is required, then you'd struggle to find one creature which is excellent at all of them.

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    $\begingroup$ can you give an example of "generalists"? I think everything is a specialist in its particular niche. Every animal, plant or bacteria survives by doing something better than everything else in their particular enviroment. You rarely find two different things in the same niche in the same enviroment. Everything is specialised in a way. Except for that i think your answer is great. $\endgroup$ – ArtificialSoul Nov 14 '17 at 16:34
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry DrBob, I don't buy it. What "nature-chef" would do is to spend some million years randomly changing the recipe in zillion different (random) ways, keeping the "most palatable" and mercilessly ditching the others. It takes "a bit" of time, but results make any "carefully planning" cook cringe in utter shame. (hint: never accept prosthetic if you can avoid it; the "56M$ Man" was and still is fiction) $\endgroup$ – ZioByte Nov 14 '17 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ @ArtificialSoul. Omnivores and opportunist species are examples of generalists. So bears, for instance. A brown bear will eat grass, dig up roots, eat berries and fruit, eat worms and insects, catch fish, hunt deer, and so on. Brown bears are also found in a variety of climates from Alaska to Spain, and in habitats from grassland to forest to semi-desert. Other examples: brown rats, raccoons, people. Invasive species are often generalists. They kind of have to be, because they've been uprooted from the niche/place they evolved in and transplanted elsewhere. $\endgroup$ – DrBob Nov 16 '17 at 14:01
  • $\begingroup$ @DrBob Thanks! That makes sense, if you put it that way. I had a different perspective on it. To me everything is niche in some way. Even humans whose niche is intellect and tools (with which we can ultimately achieve pretty much anything any animal can). $\endgroup$ – ArtificialSoul Nov 16 '17 at 14:08
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    $\begingroup$ @ArtificialSoul. Yes, human hands are one of the most specialised organs on the planet. But human diet, and human temperature tolerances make us generalists. Consider how far across the planet our ancestors Homo erectus without being as smart as us or having the range of tools we do. $\endgroup$ – DrBob Nov 16 '17 at 14:15
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Put it this way: Mother Nature can afford to throw an entire planet's worth of resources and a few billion years at the problem. We can't afford to...

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The process of evolution is powerful, simply because of the sheer scales it occurs at. A few millenia of evolution can produce only given an ecological niche - a few eons can produce lots and lots and lots and lots of diverse species. We have yet to produce a human-like intelligence in any way other than copying the existing one we have.

However, copying is one thing we humans are good at. We copy each other, occasionally making it slightly better in a moment of inspiration, sometimes making completely new things which are in turn copied by others. Unlike nature we can think through things in our heads, and exploit emergent patterns in complex systems like the universe or flow dynamics or our brain structure.

By the time we have computers powerful enough to simulate sentient beings, we will probably have made sufficient advances in nanotechnology and gene synthesis to be able to copy said simulated beings into the real world. If that's possible, all that's required is to work out how to interface mammalian brains with those bodies.

Oh, and keep said mammalian brains alive using only the chemicals found in said bodies. Which is harder.

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