Monthly Archives: February 2018

Ep 143: Emergent self-replication with Amoeba

Emergent self-replication with Amoeba

Did life come from chaos? If it did, could you get artificial life to do the same thing? As I’m repeating the experiment, with some difference, I thought I’d talk about Amoeba—an artificial life simulation that caused self-replicating bits of software to emerge from randomly generated code. I provide a general overview, and then talk a little bit about how it relates to my project.

Here are links to the previous episodes that relate to today’s episode.

Ep 82: DNA that does nothing?

Ep 103: Tierra, bits bytes and life

Here’s a link to an article about Amoeba.

Artificial life with Amoeba

Ep 142: A closer look at results from ep 139

A closer look at results from ep 139

In episode 139, I talked about unexpected results from my experiment with artificial life and digital organisms. There was a tiny bit of evolution happening with a very tiny population. Today, we take a closer look at what the system was doing.

Here are links to previous episodes relevant to this one.

Ep 103: Tierra, bits bytes and life

Ep 139: de facto fitness functions and unexpected early evolution

Here’s a roughly 28-minute-long video that is a decent introduction to artificial life.

Artificial Life

Ep 141: The largest of the small

The largest of the small

Not every single-celled life form is microscopic. Some of them can be seen with the naked eye. Some of them are, at least compared to other single-celled creatures, downright gigantic.

Here’s an article about the large amoeba that was found on the bottom of the ocean.

Giant single celled organisms lurk on ocean’s deepest point

Here’s an article about a single celled bit of seaweed that looks like a tiny fern.

Structure of world’s largest single cell is reflected at the molecular level

And here’s a video about why single celled organisms don’t get much larger than the examples in today’s episode.

What is the biggest single-celled organism?

Ep 140: An exception to the rules of biology

An exception to the rules of biology

As soon as you’ve defined something like Eukaryotes, some exception crops up, and you have to redefine a classification of life. Today, we look at one or two such exceptions, including an animal that doesn’t use oxygen.

Here are links to the episodes referenced in today’s “exciting” episode.

Ep 68: An environmental catastrophe

Ep 77: The Cambrian explosion

Here are a couple of articles about the single-celled Eukaryote that has no mitochondria.

Surprise! This eukaryote completely lacks mitochondria

First eukaryotes found without a normal cellular power supply

And here are some articles on the animal that doesn’t use oxygen.

There is one animal that seems to survive without oxygen

Oxygen-Free Animals Discovered—A First

Ep 139: de facto fitness functions and unexpected early evolution

de facto fitness functions and unexpected early evolution

When people talk about their artificial life computer simulations, they often say that there is no fitness function—no bit of code that decides which bit of software lives, dies, or reproduces. Even if it isn’t happening on purpose, the design of the overall system can still cause a de facto fitness function, and behaviors you didn’t expect, and perhaps, really didn’t want. It has already happened to me and my figures, despite using only a small test population of two or three individuals.

Here’s a link to episode 112, about Polyworld.

Evolving neural networks with polyworld

Here’s a link to a talk about Polyworld. The interesting bit where their de facto fitness function caused problems is at 30 minutes and 25 seconds.

Using Evolution to Design Artificial Intelligence

Ep 138: Figures0.2


While researching for these episodes, I’ve also been researching for other reasons, including the experiment which I talk about today. It’s my attempt to use artificial life for artificial intelligence.

Here’s a link to episode 103, which describes Tiera, and gives a good overview of digital organisms and artificial life.

Tierra, bits bytes and life

Here’s a link to episode 54, which includes an example of the real-world effects when you’re AI system over fits.

Irrational computers, investing, and racist robots

And here’s a link to the most recent post on my on-going work with digital organisms.

Thoughts on artificial life, death and intelligence

Ep 137: What a blind man sees in his dreams

What a blind man sees in his dreams

@seeingwithsound asked me if my lucid dreams are visual, and if so, how vivid or realistic are the experiences. The answer is somewhat interesting, so I went ahead and made an episode out of it.

Here’s a link to the website of the vOICe—a sensory substitution device.

The vOICe

Here’s episode 19, that demonstrates the vOICe.

Can you hear what I see?

Here’s a link to an article about which parts of the visual system of the brain are active and inactive during sleep and dreaming.

Inside The Brain Of The REM Sleeper

And just for fun, here’s a link to an article about blindsight.

Mystery of “Blindsight” Lets Some Blind People “See,”

Ep 136: Wake induced lucid dreams

Wake induced lucid dreams

This is the last episode on lucid dreaming and out of body experiences. Today we talk about wake induced lucid dreams, abbreviated “WILD.” The goal is to move directly from a waking state, into a lucid dream—a dream during which you realize that you are dreaming. I’m not as familiar with this mental state as I am with others. I’ve done it, but I’ve never made a special study of it. So, I’m including some links to some videos on the topic.

Here’s a video tutorial that doesn’t seem to be overly filled with nonsense.

Wake Induced Lucid Dream (WILD) Tutorial

Here’s a video on inducing sleep paralysis.

How to Induce Sleep Paralysis

Thoughts on artificial life, death and intelligence

I’d planned to post this on the 13th, just because that date would have been appropriate, but after implementing death, I was tired and a little bit sad. Combine that emotional response with this obviously guilt inspired dream, and the evidence suggests that I’m a gentler soul than I thought. It does niggle at me—the idea of creating life like bits of software and deliberately making certain that they will die. Still, it’s only after implementing death that I really consider them alive. That’s not to say that I consider death to be a necessary part of life, but in this approach, without death, there probably isn’t enough pressure to cause evolution, and without some evolution, my little subleq based creatures won’t be able to learn and grow.
Continue reading Thoughts on artificial life, death and intelligence

Ep 135: The Zen trick

The Zen trick

When I was still a child, I stumbled on a method for inducing an out of body experience that I later started calling “the Zen trick.” It has been the most consistently successful method I’ve used. Today, I tell the story of how I came across it, and explain how it works.