The Ultimate Future of Artificial Life

Posted 12 Mar 2008 at 15:58 UTC by steve Share This

A new philosophical paper by Clement Vidal of the Evolution, Complexity, and Cognition group at Vrije University Brussels has been released online. The paper is titled The Ultimate Future of Artficial Life: Towards Artficial Cosmogenesis (PDF format). It offers speculations on the ultimate goal of artificial life simulations, which the author believes will expand to simulate open-ended evolution, including both physical and cultural evolution. He ponders what it would mean if, eventually, the entire Universe could be simulated well enough to find out what happens if we "replay the tape of the Universe" - what would stay the same and what would change if we ran the Universe back and started it over again? He notes that, if life doesn't self-destruct in the meantime, this would eventually become a critical research tool. Why? Because the longest term problem faced by life is the eventual heat-death of the Universe. The author speculates that by overriding Cosmological Natural Selection (CNS) with Cosmological Artifcial Selection (CAS) our descendants may be able to produce a new Universe with more suitable characteristics.

Vidal should add Asimov in his bibliography ;-p, posted 20 Mar 2008 at 03:07 UTC by kikiat » (Apprentice)

The conclusion sounds like the answer to "The Last Question", short text written by Isaac Asimov.(available on:

In this short novel a giant computer is asked how to fight against entropy.

And Simak, posted 20 Mar 2008 at 04:39 UTC by steve » (Master)

I had in mind the Clifford Simak novel in which an advanced race, in a Universe nearing heat death, stockpile all their technology and knowledge on a single planet and use all their remaining power to punch the planet through a hole into the subsequent Universe just before their own finally dies. Their new Universe has no life yet so they seed a few planets with life from their old Universe while they wait for some new friends to evolve. Turns out, of course, that subsequent Universe is the one we're in and some folks from Earth discover the planet. It was published in the 60's so has probably been out of print for years.

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