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  1. #1
    optimistic pessimist is offline Member
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    What is "competing false starts"?

    Dear all, the following passage is from an Internet article I'm translating.

    The authour compares brain cells to each of us, who will eventually make a shared mass of knowledge called "global brain".
    I understand most of the passage, except "competing false-starts".
    I'd like to know what it exactly means. Is it also a metaphor of something?


    "...Two main problems mar this "global brain" metaphor. First, the current global brain is only tenuously linked to the organs of international power. Political, economic and military power remains insulated from the global brain, and powerful individuals can be expected to cling tightly to the endocrine model of control and information exchange. Second, our nervous systems evolved over 400 million years of natural selection, during which billions of competing false-starts and miswired individuals were ruthlessly weeded out. But there is only one global brain today, and no trial and error process to extract a functional configuration from the trillions of possible configurations. This formidable design task is left up to us."

    Thank you

    OP

  2. #2
    JMurray is offline Key Member
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    Re: What is "competing false starts"?

    Second, our nervous systems evolved over 400 million years of natural selection, during which billions of competing false-starts and miswired individuals were ruthlessly weeded out.


    o.p.
    I take this to mean the billions of variations of the system that appeared throughout evolution which competed with both the established forms and with other variants, but were not adaptable or efficient enough to survive.

    Although I'm tempted to say "but what would I know?".

    not a teacher

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