The creation of collective artificial units able to spontaneously construct complex behavioral patterns through cooperation and shared information.
Artificial life is, of course, not biological (Nothing to see with Dr. FRANKENSTEIN's creature). It is either computer modelized, or consists in devices assembled from mineral and electronic elements, which somehow mimic some living systems behavior.
The first A.L. device was Grey WALTER's Machina speculatrix, unfortunately merely considered at the time, as a kind of amusing cybernetic toy, after which it was forgotten for about 30 years (along with the French A. DUCROCQ's electronic foxes)
Artificial life is thus a quite new field of research. C. DELAYE et al in France, C. LANGTON's team in the U.S., L. STEELS in Belgium among others, are exploring "cooperation between distributed agents through self-organization" (STEELS, 1990).
Artificial life would be based, in terms of C. DELAYE and B. CORBARA on: "… reactive agents which would not possess any representation of themselves, nor of their environment and whose behavior is based on stimulus/response mechanisms" (1993, p.840)
This model is based on an analogy with some colonial animals, as for example Dictyostelium discoideum. However, until now no specific socialization factor, comparable to cyclical AMP, has been demonstrated to exist.
In any case, artificial life, just as the natural one, is basically a social phenomenon, with eventually (in the French researchers terminology) various emergent levels of complexity: collaborating reactive agents into superagents, etc… (Ibid ., p.841)
G. PASK has however argued that much of the qualities of self-organizing systems are determined by their fabric. As proteins are different from electronic chips, artificial life could be similar to natural one in the self-organizing aspects, but probably not much more than that.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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