- An investigation of the development of simple artificial e...
An investigation of the development of simple artificial ecosystems. Illustrate your essay with specific examples.
There are some that say life is an entity of unparalleled
complexity. If you believe the words of George Dyson (Darwin among
the machines, 1998), machines are the next evolutionary step.
However you wish to interpret it, as science has developed, some
basic rules of existence and the way that living things progress
based on their surroundings has been developed. This enables us to
understand the effect that we as humans have on our environment,
and prevent ecological tragedies from happening, as well as
teaching our children to be environmentally responsible adults in
the future. The purpose of this investigation is to develop a very
simple model of an ecosystem for the purposes of demonstration to
secondary school pupils based on just three creatures, but the
principles behind it translate into a wide number of other areas.
There are those that say life itself does not follow logical
principles, but few would doubt that ecology does undoubtedly
operate as a balanced system. I hope by looking at this problem I
can illustrate the rules that machines find easy, and the nuances
of life that a digital system struggles with, helping us gain a
greater understanding of just what we really know, and the grey
areas that black and white, on/off technology struggles to
One of the first steps we must take to understanding the problem
we are looking at is to examine the living entities involved, and
their relationship to one another, enabling a clear picture of how
the system works together.
I have to say though that I would agree with the arguments put
forward for instantiated entities rather than closed system
concepts being used as a model for the system. Animals are
individual and having varying patterns of behaviour. This would not
be effectively mimicked by treating animals as a mass that simply
increases/decreases in numbers.
One point that must be made of the achievements of this project
however is that its founding principles and architecture work to
the concepts of Darwinian evolutionary theory and, many of the
ideas implemented are accurate and translatable to real life. That
they may not match precisely the shifts of reality is not
necessarily relevant, as the adjustments could be made on an
iterative basis based on known science. The fact is this is an
ecosystem within a digital system acting to a logical pattern. The
question is, whether life is logical, or whether we are actually
trying to force logic on life.