Lecture I: Main ideas behind Artiﬁcial Life
AGH1, University of Warsaw (FUW)2
1: Department of Telecommunication
Faculty of Electronics, Computer Science and Telecommunication
Human machine interaction
Brain in vat
Original Langton paper and birhs of ALife
Essence of life by Langton
Von Neumann’s universal constructor
Comway game of life
Orgin of life by cellular cells
Diﬀerene between Alife and AI
Motivation behind new discipline Artiﬁcial Life
Investigation the essence of life and the ability to construct
life or life-like system
Creation universal and eﬀective model of reality (as Standard
Model for elementary particles)
Investigation of biological systems in inductive or deductive
Investigation of functional aspects occurring in reality (Gaia
Need for synthesis of humanistic and scientiﬁc ﬁelds as need
of building bridges between Physics, Artiﬁcial Intelligence,
Philosophy, Social Science and Technology
Extension of Science of Complexity and Sociology and other
Origin of culture, art and language
Synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary branch of biology and
The subject combines disciplines from within these domains, such
as biotechnology, genetic engineering, molecular biology, molecular
engineering, systems biology, biophysics, electrical engineering,
computer engineering, control engineering and evolutionary
biology. Synthetic biology applies these disciplines to build artiﬁcial
biological systems for research, engineering and medical
After letting the experiment run for a week, Miller and Urey found that
various types of amino acids, sugars, lipids and other organic molecules
had formed. Large, complex molecules like DNA and protein were
missing, but the Miller-Urey experiment showed that at least some of the
building blocks for these molecules could form spontaneously from simple
Origin of Life on the Earth
The Earth formed roughly betweem 4.54 and 5 billion years
ago, and life probably began between 3.53 and 3.93 billion
The Oparin-Haldane hypothesis suggests that life arose
gradually from inorganic molecules, with “building blocks” like
amino acids forming ﬁrst and then combining to make
The Miller-Urey experiment provided the ﬁrst evidence that
organic molecules needed for life could be formed from
Some scientists support the RNA world hypothesis, which
suggests that the ﬁrst life was self-replicating RNA. Others
favor the metabolism-ﬁrst hypothesis, placing metabolic
networks before DNA or RNA.
Simple organic compounds might have come to early Earth on
Figure: (Left): Enon was created to be a personal assistant. It is
self-guiding and has limited speech recognition and synthesis. It can also
carry things. (Right): Atlas is a bipedal humanoid robot primarily
developed by the American robotics company Boston Dynamics, with
funding and oversight from the United States Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The 1.8-meter (6 ft) robot is
designed for a variety of search and rescue tasks, and was unveiled to the
public on July 11, 2013.
In philosophy, the brain in a vat (alternately known as brain in a jar) is a
scenario used in a variety of thought experiments intended to draw out
certain features of human conceptions of knowledge, reality, truth, mind,
consciousness and meaning. It is an updated version of Ren´e Descartes’
Evil Demon thought experiment originated by Gilbert Harman. Best
example is given by Matrix movie. It outlines a scenario in which a
mad scientist, machine, or other entity might remove a person’s brain
from the body, suspend it in a vat of life-sustaining liquid, and connect
its neurons by wires to a supercomputer which would provide it with
electrical impulses identical to those the brain normally receives. The
computer would then be simulating reality (including appropriate
responses to the brain’s own output) and the ”disembodied” brain
would continue to have perfectly normal conscious experiences,
such as those of a person with an embodied brain, without these
being related to objects or events in the real world .
Robotic zoo by Boston Dynamics and others
All types of animals were implemented in robotics from butterﬂy to
horse, dog, snake and human. In principle we can also implement
all types of dinosaur and observe their coexistence in artifcially
C. Langton paper’s entitled “Artiﬁcial Life”,1987
Artiﬁcial life is the study of man-made systems that exhibit
behaviors characteristic of natural living systems.
Traditionally, biology attempts to analyze (top-down
approach) living organisms while artiﬁcial life attempt to
synthesize (bottom-up approach) life-like behaviors within
computers and other artiﬁcial media.
AL can contribute with biology by exploring not only
life-as-we-know-it but life-as-it-could-be
Von Neumann’s Universal Constructor-cellular automata
John von Neumann’s Universal Constructor is a
self-replicating machine in a cellular automata (CA)
environment. It was designed in the 1940s, without the use
of a computer. The fundamental details of the machine were
published in von Neumann’s book Theory of Self-Reproducing
Automata, completed in 1966 by Arthur W. Burks after von
Von Neumann’s goal was to specify an abstract machine
which, when run, would replicate itself. In his design, the
machine consists of three parts: a ’blueprint’ for itself, a
mechanism that can read any blueprint and construct the machine
(sans blueprint) speciﬁed by that blueprint, and a ’copy machine’
that can make copies of any blueprint. After the mechanism has
been used to construct the machine speciﬁed by the blueprint, the
copy machine is used to create a copy of that blueprint, and this
copy is placed into the new machine, resulting in a working
replication of the original machine. Some machines will do this
backwards, copying the blueprint and then building a machine.
Origin of life by cellular automata
[T. Ikegami, K. Suzuki / BioSystems 91, 2008]
Schr¨odinger’s ”paradox [Wikipedia]
In a world governed by the second law of thermodynamics, all
isolated systems are expected to approach a state of maximum
disorder. Since life approaches and maintains a highly ordered
state, some argue that this seems to violate the aforementioned
second law, implying that there is a paradox.
However, since the biosphere is not an isolated system, there is no
paradox. The increase of order inside an organism is more than
paid for by an increase in disorder outside this organism by the loss
of heat into the environment. By this mechanism, the second law
is obeyed, and life maintains a highly ordered state, which it
sustains by causing a net increase in disorder in the Universe.
In order to increase the complexity on Earth—as life does—free
energy is needed and in this case is provided by the Sun .
Takashi Ikegami labolatory activity
Autonomous Sensor Network
Web Default Mode Network
Exploring Embodied Neural Mechanisms
Concept of Time in Artiﬁcial Agents
Artiﬁcial Life Robot
A Self-sustaining Visual Feedback Machine
Popularity of Artiﬁcial Life
[Wendy Aguilar et al., ”The past, present, and future of Aritiﬁcial Life ” , Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 2014]
Current status of Artiﬁcial Life
The ALIFE 2018 conference will be a stimulating home for a rich
and diverse research community in Artiﬁcial Life and related ﬁelds
from around the world, with a special emphasis on encouraging
communication and building bridges between the diﬀerent research
threads that make Artiﬁcial Life such an exciting ﬁeld. Following in
the tradition of recent artiﬁcial life conferences, the meeting will
also have an overall theme that reﬂects the global nature of the
ﬁrst joint conference:
We believe that AI is just a side eﬀect of ALIFE and we
believe that this conference is going to be a turning point for
both ALIFE and AI researchers.
Sophia is a social humanoid robot developed by Hong Kong-based
company Hanson Robotics. Sophia was activated on April 19, 2015
and made her ﬁrst public appearance at South by Southwest
Festival (SXSW) in mid-March 2016 in Austin, Texas, United
States. She is able to display more than 62 facial expressions.
The Gaia hypothesis, also known as the Gaia theory or the
Gaia principle, proposes that living organisms interact with
their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a synergistic
and self-regulating, complex system that helps to maintain and
perpetuate the conditions for life on the planet.
The Gaia hypothesis states that the Earth’s atmospheric
composition is kept at a dynamically steady state by the
presence of life. The atmospheric composition provides the
conditions that contemporary life has adapted to. All the
atmospheric gases other than noble gases present in the
atmosphere are either made by organisms or processed by them.
Figure: Self-regulating mechanism due to presence of living form on the
Diﬀerence between AI and ALife
AI limits itself to information processing while ALife systems
reproduce full functionality and are embodied in real physical world.
It is like diﬀerence between few humanoid robots and computer
program playing in chess. In broader sense ALIFE means ability to
self-replicate with certain accuracy with maitanance of certain
Metacreation: Art and Artiﬁcial Life
Alife art responds to the increasing technologization of living
matter by creating works that seem to mutate, evolve, and
respond with a life of their own. Pursuing a-life’s promise of
emergence, these artists produce not only artworks, but generative
and creative processes: here creation becomes metacreation.
Whitelaw presents a-life art practice through four of its
characteristic techniques and tendencies. ”Breeders” use artiﬁcial
evolution to generate images and forms, in the process altering the
artist’s creative agency. ”Cybernatures” form complex,
interactive systems, drawing the audience into artiﬁcial ecosystems.
Other artists work in ”Hardware,” adapting Rodney Brooks’s
”bottom-up” robotics to create embodied autonomous agencies.
The ”Abstract Machines” of a-life art de-emphasize the
biological analogy, using techniques such as cellular automata to
investigate pattern, form and morphogenesis. Whitelaw surveys
the theoretical discourses around a-life art, before ﬁnally
examining emergence, a concept central to a-life, and key, it
Time Mind Machine (MTM) by Ikegami (MIT Press 2013)
The autonomy of artiﬁcial life must be understood as a sort of
default mode that self-organizes its baseline activity, preparing for
its external inputs and its interaction with humans. I thus propose
a method for creating a suitable default mode as a design principle
for living technology. MTM runs continuously for 10 h per day and
receives visual data from its environment using 15 video cameras.
The MTM receives and edits the video inputs while it
self-organizes the momentary now. Its base program is a neural
network that includes chaotic dynamics inside the system and a
meta-network that consists of video feedback systems. Using this
system as the hardware and a default mode network as a
conceptual framework, I describe the system’s autonomous
behavior (potential living technology). [T.Ikegami]
Human + machine ...
or better (or not better??): Human + machine + biomodiﬁcations
of human and biomodiﬁcations of surronding animals...
Origin of emergence of culture and ideology in human and animal
interaction is open issue...
0. Artiﬁcial Life conferences http://alife.org/conference/alife-2018.
1. Ikegami Lab, University of Tokyo
2. N.Ono, T.Ikegami, ”Artiﬁcial Chemistry: Computational Studies on the Emergence of Self-Reproducing Units.”:,
Proceedings of the 6th European Conference on Artiﬁcial Life, ECAL 2001.
3. Theo Jansen, Artiﬁcial Life Art http://www.artfutura.org/02/05jansen_en.html.
4. Ben Ramalingam et al., ” Exploring the science of complexity: Ideas and implications for development and
5. Synthetic biology:
6. Artiﬁcial Life, SFI Studies in Sciences of Complexity, Langton , 1988.
7. Wendy Aguilar et al., ”The past, present, and future of Aritiﬁcial Life ” ,Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 2014.
8. Gaia hypothesis as by Wikiepdia: http://www.gaiatheory.org/overview/.
9. Whitelaw, ”Metacreation: Art and Artiﬁcial Life”, MIT Press, 2004.
10. Thomas Douglas ,”Is the creation of artiﬁcial life morally signiﬁcant?”, Studies in History and Philosophy of
Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 2013.
11. Symbiotic future of machine and human https://medium.com/@Synced/
12. Human machine symbiosis: https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/content/human-machine-symbiosis.
13. Dave Auckley, ”Lectures on Artiﬁcial Life” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJRRu4dJnTI.
14. John Byl, ”Self-Reproduction in Small Cellular Automata”, Physica D, 34, 1989.
15. Langton, Langton loops. http://www.alaricstephen.com/main-featured/2017/6/27/langtons-loops.
16. Google AI Lab https://www.re-work.co/blog/deep-learning-ilya-sutskever-google-openai.
17. Comway game of life as by Wikiepdia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway. 18. Takashi Ikegami et al.,
”A Design for Living Technology: Experiments with the Mind Time Machine”, Artiﬁcial Life, Vol. 19, No. 3, 2013.
19. Richard Dawkins, ”The Blind Watchmaker”, 1996.
20. Alan Dorin, Presentation on Artiﬁcial Life
21. Valtention Braitenberg, ”Vehicles, Experiments in Synthetic Psychology”, 1984.
22. Ijaz Muhammad, presentation on ” Synthetic biology”
23. T. Ikegami, K. Suzuki, ”From a homeostatic to a homeodynamic self” ,BioSystems 91, 2008.