Evolution is a diversification algorithm

Evolution is a diversification algorithm.

We mistakenly think of evolution as an optimization algorithm. It's actually a diversification algorithm.

From Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned:

It’s popular to explain evolution as a process in which traits satisfy some kind of global objective.

The problem is that stepping stones to intelligence do not resemble intelligence at all. Human-level intelligence is a deceptive objective function for evolution. Rather than increasing intelligence, the stepping stones that lead from single-called organisms to humans include such unrelated innovations as multicellularity and bilateral symmetry.

Evolution was not trying to evolve human-level intelligence. And that is the only reason it did.

Evolution is a stepping stone collector. These stepping stones are collected not because they may lead to some far off primary objective, some ultimate uber-organism towards which all life is directed, but because they are well adapted in their own right. Each organism on the path to humans reproduced because it was successful in its own niche at its own time.‬

Stanley, Lehman , 2015, Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned