Tagartificial life

The Frankenbook Project

Back in June of 2016, I was invited to the Brocher Institute in Hermance, Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Geneva, to take part in the Frankenstein’s Shadow Symposium sponsored by Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination as part of their Frankenstein Bicentennial project.

While there, I and a great many other thinkers in art, literature, history, biomedical ethics, philosophy, and science and technology studies worked together to discuss the history and impact of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Since that experience, the ASU team has compiled and released a book project: A version of Mary Shelley’s seminal work that is filled with annotations and essays, and billed as being “For Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds.”

[Image of the cover of the 2017 edited, annotated edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, “Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds.”]

A few months ago, I was approached by the ASU organizers and asked to contribute to a larger online interactive version of the book—to provide an annotation on some aspect of the book I deemed crucial and important to understand. As of now, there is a full functional live beta version of the website, and you can see my contribution and the contributions of many others, there.

From the About Page:

Frankenbook is a collective reading and collaborative annotation experience of the original 1818 text of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The project launched in January 2018, as part of Arizona State University’s celebration of the novel’s 200th anniversary. Even two centuries later, Shelley’s modern myth continues to shape the way people imagine science, technology, and their moral consequences. Frankenbook gives readers the opportunity to trace the scientific, technological, political, and ethical dimensions of the novel, and to learn more about its historical context and enduring legacy.

To learn more about Arizona State University’s celebration of Frankenstein’s bicentennial, visit frankenstein.asu.edu.

You’ll need to have JavaScript enabled and ad-blocks disabled in order to see the annotations, but it works quite well. Moving forward, there will be even more features added, including a series of videos. Frankenbook.org will be the place to watch for all updates and changes.

I am deeply honoured to have been asked to be a part of this amazing project, over the past two years, and I am so very happy that I get to share it with all of you, now. I really hope you enjoy it.

Until Next Time.

originally posted at afutureworththinkingabout.com

Scientists Reach Milestone On Way To Artificial Life

yeast cells

Scientists are reporting that they have made a living cell from DNA that was originally synthesized in a lab. This isn’t quite a synthetic organism. But the result is an important, and some would say troubling, step on the road to creating life in the lab.

Craig Venter is the scientist behind the effort. Many scientists have strong opinions about Venter, but even his detractors will admit he’s a man who thinks big.

Venter and his team have been working to create a synthetic cell since 1995. The idea is to use the four chemical constituents of DNA — named A, T, C and G — to put together a synthetic genome. Then they would put that synthetic genome into a cell, and have it direct the cell as it grew and multiplied. Now they’ve succeeded.

NPR: Scientists Reach Milestone On Way To Artificial Life

Cellular automata based psychedelic animation generator

cellular automata

A cellular automata based pychedelic animation generator

(via Wade)

Searching for the best initial configurations in Conway’s Game of Life


Above: Edna, the longest living soup currently known.

The Online Life-Like CA Soup Search is a collaborative online project designed to find interesting patterns in Life-like cellular automata by watching the evolution of random initial configurations (known as soups). In particular, random soups are evolved until they stabilize, and all the resulting stable patterns are uploaded to the server and catalogued. If the initial soup lived for an exceptionally long time then it is also uploaded to the server.

The Online Life-Like CA Soup Search

(via Fadereu)

Open-source technologies to intelligently inhabit the oceans

Nomadic Ecosystem

Open Sailing is… well, just look at a list of their projects and check out their site:

– Instinctive_Architecture : an architecture that behaves like a super-organism, reacting to the weather conditions and other variables, reconfiguring itself.
– Energy_Animal : an independent module that generates energy from the waves, wind and sun, providing continuously off-grid energy and being a node for environment and data mesh networking.
– Nomadic_Ecosystem : engineering a mobile aquaculture to sustain human long term life at sea.
– Openet.org : forum to formulate a global standard for a purely civilian internet, an internet moderated by its users, not by the governments nor the industries nor the militaries.
– Life_Cable : a simpler unified standard for energy, water, waste, information in a complex built structure.
– Swarm_Operating_System : a customizable decision assisting software, using real-time data about global threats or personal interests.
– Ocean_Cookbook : making the experience at sea not of a survival quality but a truly yummy experience.
– Open_Politics : think tank about a possible internal organization for a new oceanic urban structure.

Open Sailing

(Thanks Nova)

Acidic Droplet Solves Maze

Acidic Droplet Solves Maze

A team led by Northwestern University chemistry professor Bartosz A. Grzybowski has shown that an acidic droplet can successfully navigate a complex maze.

“I personally find most exciting that such a simple system can exhibit apparently ‘intelligent’ behavior,” Louisiana State University chemistry professor John A. Pojman comments. “This approach may be useful as a pumping method for microfluidics or a way to convert chemical energy to mechanical motion in small devices. I am eager to see if they can generalize it to other types of gradients,” he says.

Chemical and Engineering News: Acidic Droplet Solves Maze

(via Fadereu)

Conway’s Game of Life generates a city

A 3D model city has been generated using the open source, easy to learn programming language Processing.

(via Digital Urban via Bruce Sterling)

See also: Slime mould could design Tokyo’s railway

Artificial life + granular synthesis = aDiatomea

aDiatomea: ColonyI from MRK on Vimeo.

aDiatomea is an artificial life system that uses various methods and notions of a-life research. The basic principle of aDiatomea is that every aspect of it is entirely mathematically generated and thus it is not created purposefully as an art piece but as a complex system that takes a life of its own. These artificial organisms are based on actual unicellular organisms known as Diatoms. These beautiful microscopic creatures are constructed using the superformula, an equation that can reproduce organic forms. Granular sound is injected in these organisms, acting as their life-force, while they interact with each other and their environment. This film shows a recording of 36 seconds of evolution, pushing the boundaries of complex computer calculations.

Vimeo Gallery

Flickr Set

aDiatomea Site

(via Fadereu)


Memristor minds: The future of artificial intelligence

In the 18 months since the “missing link of electronics” was discovered in Hewlett-Packard’s laboratories in Silicon Valley, California, memristors have spawned a hot new area of physics and raised hope of electronics becoming more like brains. […]

Memristors behave a bit like resistors, which simply resist the flow of electric current. But rather than only respond to present conditions, a memristor can also “remember” the last current it experienced.

That’s an ability that would usually require many different components. “Each memristor can take the place of 7 to 12 transistors,” says Stan Williams, head of HP’s memristor research. What’s more, it can hold its memory without power. By contrast, “transistors require power at all times and so there is a significant power loss through leakage currents”, Williams explains. […]

The similarities between memristive circuits and the behaviour of some simple organisms suggests the hybrid devices could also open the way for “neuromorphic” computing, says Williams, in which computers learn for themselves, like animals.

New Scientist: Electronics ‘missing link’ united with rest of the family

More background: New Scientist: Memristor minds: The future of artificial intelligence

(Via Chris 23)

Wanted: Home Computers to Join in Research on Artificial Life

In October, a small team of Silicon Valley researchers plans to turn software originally designed to search for evidence of extraterrestrial life to the task of looking for evidence of artificial life generated on a cluster of high-performance computers.

The effort, dubbed the EvoGrid, is the brainchild and doctoral dissertation topic of Bruce Damer, a Silicon Valley computer scientist who develops simulation software for NASA at a company, Digital Space, based in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Mr. Damer and his chief engineer, Peter Newman, are modeling their effort after the SETI@Home project, which was started by the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, program to make use of hundreds of thousands of Internet-connected computers in homes and offices. The project turned these small computers into a vast supercomputer by using pattern recognition software on individual computers to sift through a vast amount of data to look for evidence of faint signals from civilizations elsewhere in the cosmos.

New York Times: Wanted: Home Computers to Join in Research on Artificial Life

(via Chris Arkenberg)

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