ALife 2019 will see the following special sessions. See our author guidelines for submission instructions.

Special Sessions

ALife & Society

Organized by:

  • Alex Penn
  • Jesus Mario Siqueiros García

ALife now goes beyond the classic categories of wet, hard and soft. ALife is now out there in the real world and it is with us as we are with it. The boundaries are diffuse but as traditional limits seem to disappear, new identities, new forms of autonomy and new biospheres are emerging. This requires governance and guidance of the Artificial Life that is shaping ourselves, society and the whole planet, identifying new societal and individual responsibilities, and understanding the ongoing construction of bio-socio- tech- environmental interdependencies.

A case worthy of consideration is the emergence of the Internet and the Web which have provided new possibilities for system creation and interconnection, communication and understanding and provide new contexts and feedbacks for our evolution and new possible extensions to how human systems can exist or be defined. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes present in almost every aspect of human life, this is a crucial time to address these themes.

This session aims to focus on consideration of the implications of socio-ecological- technological systems as hybrid living systems with some forms of artificial life and intelligence in their own right. And on our dynamic creation of, and interconnectedness, interactions and co-evolution with these systems. We will create a space for discussing the theoretical questions, modeling strategies and ethical issues that revolve around the dynamics of the co-evolution of the self, society, biosphere and technology and of the emergence of properties of lifelike and cognitive systems at new, higher, levels.

Potential speakers are invited to submit abstracts or papers on the session themes via the Alife 2019 website. Speakers are encouraged to present new and exploratory ideas, to suggest new disciplinary connections and to pose novel questions. The session will take the form of short talks followed by interactive group discussion. Key themes, debates and ideas from the session will form the basis of a collaborative piece for the Societal Impact Section of the MIT Press Journal of Artificial Life to which speakers will be invited to contribute.

Topics of Interest Include (but are not limited to):

  • Removing the Natural-Artificial Divide: socio-ecological-technical systems as hybrid living systems
  • Co-evolution of the self, society, biosphere and technology
  • Artificial Life in the Anthropocene: Philosophical and practical approaches to ubiquitous Artificial Life
  • Societal implications of living, hybrid and lifelike technologies and artifacts and technologies with agency
  • Technical, philosophical and social implications of synthetic ecology, living and life-like technology and bio-hybrid societies and systems
  • Impact of emerging living and intelligent technologies on society
  • Developing novel institutions for managing multi-level living and intelligent systems
  • Ethical and societal issues in manipulating complex and large-scale living/cognitive hybrid systems
  • Conceptual, philosophical and technical issues in managing complex, living or life-like Societal systems – key challenges, opportunities and methodologies
  • Emergent interactions and dynamic aspects of the organism-environment boundary in socio-ecological-technical systems
  • Visions of artificial futures. ALife-inspired visions and fiction for the Anthropocene

Hybrid Life II: Approaches to integrate biological, artificial and cognitive systems

Session Webiste

Organized by:

  • Manuel Baltieri
  • Keisuke Suzuki
  • Hiroyuki Iizuka
  • Olaf Witkowski

The main focus of ALife research is the study of natural systems with the goal of understanding what life is. More concretely, ALife defines ways to investigate processes that contribute to the formation and proliferation of living organisms. In this session we focus on three common approaches used to tackle this investigation, proposing ways to integrate, extend and possibly improve them. More specifically we refer to: 1) the formalisation of the necessary properties for the definition of life, 2) the implementation of artificial agents, and 3) the study of the relation between life and cognition.

For this special session we propose to start from these well-established Alife methodologies, and extend them through:

  • a unified formal language for the description and modelling of living, as well as artificial and cognitive systems, e.g. control theory, Bayesian inference, dynamical systems theory, etc.
  • the exploration of biological creatures enhanced by artificial systems (or artificial systems augmented with organic parts) in order to investigate the boundaries between living and nonliving organisms. This includes work from bio-inspired robotics, human augmentation, synthetic biology, etc.
  • the evaluation of coupled biological-artificial systems that could shed light on the importance of interactions among systems for the study of living and cognitive organisms. This methodology welcomes contributions from the fields of human-agent interaction, animal-computer interaction, virtual / augmented reality systems, etc.

Towards autonomous evolution, production and learning in robotic eco-systems

Organized by:

  • Emma Hart
  • Andy M. Tyrrell
  • Jon Timmis
  • Alan Winfield
  • Gusz Eiben

Advances in 3d printing technologies now enable us to print robot bodies from novel materials that flex and electronic circuitry using conducting inks. At the same time, new insights into evolutionary learning and adaptation promise new methods of developing adaptive control. Coupling these together, it is possible to perceive a long-term vision of a new technology enabling the evolution of entire autonomous robotic ecosystems that live and work for long periods in challenging and dynamic environments without the need for direct human oversight. In such a radically new autonomous system, robots will be conceived and born, rather than designed and manufactured. This will fundamentally change the concept of machines. Development is driven by evolution that can discover novel morphologies and co-evolved controllers that are highly adapted to operate in these environments, which could not have been anticipated by human designer. The result is a new breed of machines that can change their form and behaviour, not in error but on purpose. This Special Session solicits novel research that will contribute towards achieving such a vision. Although evolving in hardware directly addresses the reality-gap, it is clear that this can be complemented and/or accelerated by simulation; significant progress will likely require combining evolution in both hardware and simulation. Suggested submissions might address (but are not limited to) the following topics:

  • Robot evolution in hardware
  • Evolution of morphologies using novel materials
  • Simulation of soft robotics
  • Closing the reality gap
  • Novel methods for co-evolution of morphology and control
  • Novel methods for facilitating learning and adaptation
  • Evolution of learnability in a robot population
  • Investigating the balance between morphological intelligence and brain intelligence
  • Evolving behavioural/morphological diversity within a robotic eco-system