Is there artificial life?
#119827. Asked by Jerry12. (Jan 07 11 9:32 AM)
The modeling philosophy of alife strongly differs from traditional modeling, by studying not only “life-as-we-know-it”, but also “life-as-it-might-be”.|
In the first approach, a traditional model of a biological system will focus on capturing its most important parameters. In contrast, an alife modeling approach will generally seek to decipher the most simple and general principles underlying life and implement them in a simulation. The simulation then offers the possibility to analyse new, different life-like systems.
Red'ko proposed to generalize this distinction not just to the modeling of life, but to any process. This led to the more general distinction of "processes-as-we-know-them" and "processes-as-they-could-be"
At present, the commonly accepted definition of life does not consider any current alife simulations or softwares to be alive, and they do not constitute part of the evolutionary process of any ecosystem. However, different opinions about artificial life's potential have arisen:
The strong alife (cf. Strong AI) position states that "life is a process which can be abstracted away from any particular medium" (John von Neumann). Notably, Tom Ray declared that his program Tierra is not simulating life in a computer but synthesizing it.
The weak alife position denies the possibility of generating a "living process" outside of a chemical solution. Its researchers try instead to simulate life processes to understand the underlying mechanics of biological phenomena.
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