Illustration of Artificial life

1986 Artificial life

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Christopher Langton computer science Illustration of Artificial life

Artificial life

Information, energy, matter flow as in natural living systems or as in alien worlds teeming in infinity. We can simulate life with a computer or game algorithm, we can manufacture life with robots or other mechanical systems, and we can synthesize life with biochemistry. Artificial life, soft, hard, or wet, can help us understand the processes of living systems.

Artificial mashups

1. Here we simulate robots of the future controlled by synthetic DNA. 2. We implement neural networks with generically engineered bacteria designed to perform advanced reasoning. 3. We let randomly tweaked genetic codes evolve in special yeast cells to behave in industrially useful ways. 4. We marry the strength and scale of mechanical systems and the sensitivity and adaptability of biological systems. 5. We design DNA sequences implementing algorithms. We clone them into bacteria by the thousands and let them cross-breed to solve math problems. 6. We implement thought experiments from which agents of superior life-forms will gradually evolve. 7. Our exoplanetary rovers replicate themselves from materials available in space to explore new worlds in unexpected ways. 8. Our rovers have begun to communicate among themselves in a language that frankly we don’t understand.

The word

About the word, we can argue whether it’s only a simulation or the essence of life itself. We may speculate what existed at the beginning, perhaps with God and coincidentally also God.

It’s interesting to compare different beginnings: Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” and John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

See also in The book of science:

Readings in wikipedia: