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Artificial Life

Indeed, we are seeing a co-evolution taking place between humans and their intelligent machines, however, machines are also now being allowed to evolve by themselves. The science/art of artificial life defines a new strategy that uses the lessons of biological evolution to allow computers to utilize “genetic algorithms” to find solutions to problems, as well as evolve to be more fit to exist in certain environments.


Artificial life examines "life as it could be" by researching the principles and simulating real biological forms in a non-biological material.

Autopoiesis (2000-04), created by the author, is a robotic sculpture installation commissioned by the Kiasma Museum in Helsinki, Finland as part of Outoaly, the Alien Intelligence Exhibition curated by Erkki Huhtamo in 2000. It consists of fifteen robotic sound sculptures that interact with the public and self-modify their behaviors over time.

These behaviors change based on feedback from infrared sensors, the presence of the participant/viewers in the exhibition, and the communication between each separate sculpture. This series of robotic sculptures talk with each other through a computer network and audible telephone tones, which is a musical language for the group.


Autopoiesis. by Ken Rinaldo 2000.


Autopoiesis is "self-making", a characteristic of all living systems, which was defined and refined by Francisco Varella and Humberto Maturana. The interactivity engages the viewer/participant, who in turn affect the system's evolution and emergence. This creates a system evolution as well as an overall group sculptural aesthetic. Autopoiesis breaks out of standard interfaces (mouse) and playback methodologies (CRT) and presents an interactive environment, which is immersive, detailed, and able to evolve in real time by utilizing feedback and interaction from audience/participant members.

Autopoiesis continually evolves its own behaviors in response to the unique environment and viewer/participant inputs. This group consciousness of sculptural robots manifests a cybernetic ballet of experience, with the computer/machine and viewer/participant involved in a grand dance of one sensing and responding to the other.


Cybernetics is the science of communication and the control of computer and human interaction


Are computers now able to give birth to themselves? At Brandeis University, in August of 2000, the researcher Jordan Pollack and his colleague Hod Lipson of Cornell developed a system that would allow a set of robots to evolve in the virtual space of the computer first and then manifest in the physical world using rapid prototyping technology. [9]


Rapid prototyping is a way of creating 3D physical models automatically from computer designs in either an additive process, where the model is created one millimeter at a time using liquid plastic or by a subtractive process, where a delicate carving tool cuts the object from a block of plastic.


The Golem Project (Genetically Organized Lifelike Electro Mechanics ) by Jordan Pollack and Hod Lipson. 2000.


These computer scientists were able to develop artificial life algorithms that provided the instructions for the robots to evolve locomotion. In the figure above you can see the robot pushing itself through the sand.