Polyworld is a simulator of artificial life that is to a
large extent constructed according to biological principles.
The organisms in this system develop typical behaviour patterns
and behaviour strategies which are stable on a long-term basis.
Simulations are "successful" if the organisms are
able to reproduce and to maintain their population.
The question is: Are these organisms alive?
REAL LIFE IN AN ARTIFICIAL CONTEXT?
The subject of this talk will be Artificial Life - the study of man-made
living systems. In particular, I will discuss a particular computational
ecology, called Polyworld, that represents a seemingly successful attempt to
develop nonbiological life in a computer. Though itself nonbiological,
PolyWorld draws heavily on biological principles: It brings together
biologically motivated genetics, simple simulated physiologies and metabolisms,
Hebbian learning in arbitrary neural network architectures, a visual perceptive
mechanism, and a suite of primitive behaviors in artificial organisms grounded
in a simple ecology. Predation, mimicry, sexual reproduction, and even
communication are all supported in a straightforward fashion. The resulting
survival strategies, both individual and group, are purely emergent, als are
the functionalities embodied in their neural network "brains". PolyWorld is an
attempt to approach artificial intelligence the same way that natural
intelligence emerged: through the evolution of neural system in a complex
are these man-made organisms really alive? Can they be? After presenting some
specifics of the pseudo-physics and -biology that constitute PolyWorld's model
of life, and showing videotape of some of the species and complex emergent
behaviors found in the organisms of PolyWorld, I will try to address this most
fundamental question of the field of Artificial Life.
will conclude with some suggestions for future directions for this research.