I've recently read a really interesting blog entry from Google Research Blog talking about neural network. Basically they use this neural networks for solving various problems like image recognition. They use genetic algorithms to "evolve" the weights of the axons.
So basically my idea is the following. If I was supposed to write a program that recognizes numbers I would not know how to start (I could have some vague idea but my point is: It is not trivial, nor easy.) but by using neural network I do not have to. By creating the right context in order for the neural network to evolve, my neural network will "find the correct algorithm". Down below I quoted a really interesting part of the article where they explain how each layer have different role in the process of image recognition.
One of the challenges of neural networks is understanding what exactly goes on at each layer. We know that after training, each layer progressively extracts higher and higher-level features of the image, until the final layer essentially makes a decision on what the image shows. For example, the first layer maybe looks for edges or corners. Intermediate layers interpret the basic features to look for overall shapes or components, like a door or a leaf. The final few layers assemble those into complete interpretations—these neurons activate in response to very complex things such as entire buildings or trees.
So basically my question is the following: Couldn't we use genetic algorithms + neural networks in order to solve every NP problem? We just create the right evolutionary context and leave "nature" find a solution.
EDIT: I know we can use Brute-Force or find a not-efficient solution in many cases. That is why I try to highlight Evolving artificial neural networks. As I said in a comment: Given sufficient time and an appropriate mutation rate we could find the optimal solution (Or at least that is what I think).