Artificial Life
CS 575
Human Issues in Computing
Spring 2008
Seyed Saeid Mousavi
What is life?
Even the biologists (people who study life)
have a tough time describing what life is!
What is life? (Cont.)
After many years of studying living things,
from the mold on your old tuna sandwich to
monkeys in the rainforest, biologists have
determined that all living things do share
some things in common:
1) Living things need to take in energy
2) Living things get rid of waste
3) Living things grow and develop
4) Living things respond to their environment
5) Living things reproduce and pass their
traits onto their offspring
6) Over time, living things evolve (change
slowly) in response to their environment
What is Artificial Life?
Known as Artificial life/Alife/AL
 Is a field of study and an associated art form
 Examine systems related to life, its
processes, and its evolution through
 Uses computer models, robotics, and
Another definition
Artificial Life is devoted to a new discipline
that investigates the scientific, engineering,
philosophical, and social issues involved in
our rapidly increasing technological ability to
synthesize life-like behaviors from scratch in
computers, machines, molecules, and other
alternative media.
Types of ALIFE
There are three main kinds of alife, named
for their approaches: soft, from software;
hard, from hardware; and wet, from
Artificial life imitates traditional
biology by trying to recreate biological
phenomena. The term "artificial life" is often
used to specifically refer to soft alife.
Do you know of any computer program
which resembles a living organism?
ALife, what about it?
Categories of AL and example
Neural net–based
Contain organisms with a complex DNA
This language is more often in the form of a
computer program than actual biological DNA.
Assembly derivatives are the most common
languages used.
Is an open source, freeware artificial life
Originally developed by Carlo Comis
Provides a virtual environment in which a
number of digital organisms -called "bots"
interact, fight for resources, and eventually
reproduce and evolve
Individual modules are added to a creature.
The modules modify the creature's behaviors and
Directly, by hard coding into the simulation (leg type A
increases speed and metabolism)
Indirectly, through the emergent interactions between a
creature's modules (leg type A moves up and down with a
frequency of X, which interacts with other legs to create
These are simulators which emphasize user creation
and accessibility over mutation and evolution
TechnoSphere is a 3D model world inhabited
by artificial lifeforms
created by WWW users.
There are thousands of creatures in the world
all competing to survive.
They eat, fight, mate and create offspring
which evolve and adapt to their environment.
When you make a creature it will email you
to let you know what it has been getting up
to in its world. Using the creature tools you
can find out how your creature is surviving,
what it is doing at any time, and where it is
in the terrain.
Organisms are generally constructed with predefined and fixed behaviors
The behaviors are controlled by various
parameters that mutate
Each organism contains a collection of
numbers or other finite parameters
Each parameter controls one or several
aspects of an organism in a well-defined way
Gardens of Kyresoo
Kyresoo flowers grow from the division of
individual cells
Each cell operates independently according to the
instructions embedded in its genetic code.
Cell size, shape, color, interaction with neighboring
cells and the environment, all are controlled by
expressed proteins.
The resulting shape of the plant is purely an
"emergent" property of the behavior of individual
Neural net–based
Creatures learn and grow using neural nets or
a close derivative
Emphasis is more on learning than on natural
Noble Ape
Features a number of autonomous simulation
components including:
landscape simulation
biological simulation
weather simulation
sentient creature (Noble Ape) simulation
simple intelligent-agent scripting language
ALIFE Organizations
International Society for Artificial Life
ISAL was established in May of 2001 as a non-profit
organization and currently is based at Reed College.
ISAL is a democratic, international, professional
society dedicated to promoting scientific research
and education relating to artificial life, including
sponsoring conferences, publishing scientific
journals and newsletters, and maintaining web sites
related to artificial life. Artificial Life (published by
MIT Press) is the official journal of ISAL, and the
biannual International Conference on Artificial Life
is the official scientific gathering of the Society.
 promotes and assists the
engineering of complete, biologicallyinspired, synthetic ecosystems and organisms.
This involves the creation and deployment of
digital tools and environments for simulation,
research, and learning about living systems
both natural and artificial. These tools range
from simple genetic algorithms to full multiuser virtual environments.
Future of ALife?!
Artificial consciousness
Artificial life
Augmented reality
Artificial society
Brain-in-a-vat Computational sociology
Computational universe theory
Consensus reality
Digital philosophy
Dream argument
Fabric of Reality
Hyperreality Infosphere
Lucid Dreaming
Mind Transfer Mixed reality The Matrix Tipler's
"Omega point" Philosophy of information Reality
Second Life Simulacrum Social simulation
Theory of
Virtual Reality
Virtual Worlds
Zeno's paradoxes

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