A Question for Biologists

in #blog4 years ago (edited)

Question

Imagine that there's an ecosystem that's populated by two species of animals. Call them "bots" and "humans."

Now, imagine that the bots and the humans in this ecosystem compete for a single supply of nourishment, call it, "Curation Rewards." If the bots get all the curation rewards, the humans go extinct. In contrast, the bots go extinct if curation rewards all go to humans. Naturally, bots excel at some things, while humans excel at others.

My question is: Under what conditions do the two species coevolve into symbiotic species, and under what conditions do they coevolve into competitors so that one eventually deprives the other of curation rewards and drives it into extinction?

Background

I often see it argued here that bots can be useful for detecting plagiarism and the like (whatever the like is), but that only humans can determine the quality of an article. As I noted here, I disagree with that perspective. I think that human and bot curators are both vital to steemit's long term success.

Google's Page Rank system has already proved that humans and algorithms can work together to develop a pretty good quality appraisal. Google treats inter-page links as votes, and uses them, with no actual understanding of the page contents, to evaluate the quality and decide where to rank it in search results. I think Google has also demonstrated that humans alone are not up to dealing with the volume that steemit hopes to achieve. Would anyone seriously suggest that Google's bots (algorithms) should be entirely replaced by human curators?

In my opinion, then, the goal at steemit should be to create the conditions where humans and bots become symbiotic neighbors. So I ask, does evolutionary biology offer any insights into what those conditions might be? I certainly don't know, but it might be an interesting topic to learn about.

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Your premise is flawed. The bots aren't fully independent agents. Each bot is owned by a human. So really what has happened here is that some humans have found a force multiplier in order to increase their curation rewards. This is detrimental to those who curate by hand.

The correct answer here is for botless humans to acquire bots which will curate in general the way that they do.

To answer your question, the bots win until curation is meaningless and everyone who doesn't have a bot, instead ends up curating the content of only their friends to little or no effect on the eco system as a whole.
Those people eventually get bored and go away. Soon it's bot created content being curated by bots and everyone has a personal recommendation bot which curates based on personal interest.

I mentioned this a few times months ago. Looks like that's the way it's going now. The real question is if the price of steem will survive in a situation where the rewards keep going to the same handful of people for the same handful of subjects while the minnows are left fighting for scraps.

I can assure you it will not.

The problem isn't the bots. Bots are just a force multiplier. The reward system need to change, perhaps by introducing a penalty to everyone if they curate someone who has earned more than a certain $ amount in the past month.

I'm not sure that bots being created by humans outside of the ecosystem really affects the thought experiment. Ants and other insects, for example, are basically just rule followers. They're not very different from bots.

The correct answer here is for botless humans to acquire bots which will curate in general the way that they do...
...Soon it's bot created content being curated by bots and everyone has a personal recommendation bot which curates based on personal interest.

It's going to take me a long time to learn enough to get this done with everything else I've got going, but if someone doesn't beat me to it, I'd like to create a bot that's packaged and ready to download and run, where a user can simply fill out a form to describe their preferences for each different field of the article and press "go" to start curating. If someone else does it first, that would be good too.

The reward system need to change, perhaps by introducing a penalty to everyone if they curate someone who has earned more than a certain $ amount in the past month.

I definitely agree that it's all about the rewards, that's exactly where I'm wondering if evolutionary biology offers any insights.

It's going to take me a long time to learn enough to get this done with everything else I've got going, but if someone doesn't beat me to it, I'd like to create a bot that's packaged and ready to download and run, where a user can simply fill out a form to describe their preferences for each different field of the article and press "go" to start curating. If someone else does it first, that would be good too.

I beat you to the punch on the idea a long time ago...
https://steemit.com/introduceyourself/@williambanks/announce-steembots-com-your-source-for-everything-bot-related-now-hiring

Then Xeroc beat me on releasing a viable product, so I just let that one slide.
Which reminds me, I need to place that website up for sale soon.

I definitely agree that it's all about the rewards, that's exactly where I'm wondering if evolutionary biology offers any insights.

Well yeah it does. Surviving generations learn to live on less, or more to places with easier food supply and less predation. They also develop defenses to stop predation.

Keep in mind, this isn't a system designed to emulate a true natural ecosystem.
In a natural ecosystem there is a fixed supply of energy in limited forms. The first order lifeforms, i.e. lichen, algae, bacteria etc exploit first order energy sources.

From there it's a predation cycle with bigger things eating smaller things. Each order of more advanced life using the next order lower down as a sort of battery, i.e. energy storage unit.

Here we have a fixed monetary supply which functions a little like money. But short of downvoting no one can really eat you by taking your money away. They can just make it harder for you to earn more.

I've got a basic upvote bot built using @xeroc's model, but it's got a long way to go to do the sort of things I'd like to do with it. I'm new to python and steemit, and I've never looked at the actual structure of any blockchain before, so it's slow going. That would be a hard row to hoe for people who have never written a line of code before.

I like your #STEEMBOTCOME hash-tag idea. Sort of like the robots.txt file. I think maybe you're on to something that line of thinking. Although at first blush, I have a hard time imagining why an author would tell the bots to stay away - unless it were tied to the reward system.

Although at first blush, I have a hard time imagining why an author would tell the bots to stay away - unless it were tied to the reward system.

You and me both, but some people are just seriously phobic that they might catch cooties if they find out that they talked to a bot.

I've got bots on alts on here and frankly, I've personally had more flags than any of my bots. It's a matter of building your bot to be intelligent enough to play the game with people so they feel valued and not tricked. That means replies with more than repeating the same comment all over etc.

But as for curation, you're way better off doing some big data style analysis, finding who the top curator is and voting along with them. But then you're just creating a self fulfilling prophesy.

One solution to the robot/human symbiosis problem would be to have the robots prey upon humans for food. This would give them incentive to always have plenty of humans around;)
robot eating a human

lol. Yeah, um, that's probably not exactly what I had in mind. ; -)

Funny. You really should check out my latest blog posting by the way. I think you'll enjoy it.
https://steemit.com/science/@williambanks/so-you-want-to-be-a-super-hero-laser-vision