Thousands of generations to learn anything | Evolution

AI, in the form of neural networks today takes hundreds of thousands of iterations to learn from scratch. Given a set of defined goals and a basic know-how of the limited set of controls it has, it repetitively performs a sequence of operations to understand what helps it reach its goal and what doesn't. At times it takes the same path with a slight detour to see if that made any difference.
Take for example the following brilliant demonstration of a neural network learning to play Mario. 
Easter egg - MarI/O is open source.
The entire process of the neural network learning to play the game is based on biological evolution. During its initial generations with almost no idea of what to do, MarI/O simply stood there, or kept jumping in place. It then learnt that pressing the right button helped it reach closer to its goal - to reach as far right as possible. So over the next hundreds of generations, it just kept pressing right, and then jumping in place. Later, it realized pressing two buttons at a time can get it even further right, so it started that repeatedly. Slowly, over thousands of generations, playing the same level over and over again, it started to understand what helps it acheive it's goal and what doesn't. But it took the AI thousands of generations to do that.

Now, humans function in exactly the same way. That statement is an irony - the above simulation is a mere replication of the way we learn over generations. Anyway, we're precisely the same. From inventing the wheel to learning about fire, and later making a combustion engine that powers those wheels, we've taken thousands of generations. Science in the same way takes years and years to evolve. Given what we know so far, we make changes, bits and pieces here and there.

What if we didn't take so much time to learn? What if we learnt at a 100% efficiency form our previous generations? Take pollution from our cars as an example. From previous generations, we know it's troubling our atmosphere. We should stop using them immediately before it gets any worse. But no - we can't. We're programmed to learn slowly - we make small changes first. We make refined petrol that burns better and leaves less soot behind. We then create more efficient engines. We keep making minor modifications to what we've developed in the past, until one fine day we learn about electric powered cars with zero emisions. Analogous to the way MarI/O first learnt about pressing two buttons at a time. We then head towards electric cars slowly, developing cars that emit less polution - slowly, over several generations we make cars with zero emissions. We get closer to our ultimate goal of keeping the human race alive. Why can't we just learn faster?


And yes, I'm saying this whole species is one huge neural network.


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