I recently developed a little tool called Neat Cars where you can drawa track, place a car and watch the NEAT algorithm in action (including the ANN).
However, I saw something that caught my attention:
Of course, the first thing I did why asking ChatGPT after seeing this as I don't think the drawing is lying. It gave me this exact explaination:
In NEAT (NeuroEvolution of Augmenting Topologies), it is possible for an output node to have no connections with any other node in the neural network but still produce an output. This can happen when the output node is initially connected to an input node or when it is connected to a hidden node that later becomes disconnected from the network.
When a neural network is evolving through NEAT, the algorithm may add or remove connections or nodes during the optimization process. If a connection between the output node and other nodes is removed, the output node can still produce an output because it may have learned to do so during previous generations or training iterations.
Additionally, in NEAT, some output nodes may be designated as "structural" nodes, which means they are always included in the network regardless of their connectivity. These structural nodes can also produce outputs even if they are not connected to any other nodes.
In summary, while it is not common in traditional neural network architectures for an output node to produce output without any input connections, it is possible in NEAT due to the way the algorithm evolves and optimizes neural networks.
But still, I don't think it works that way. I'm still having doubts.