|Abstract||Contemporary artificial life (also known as “ALife”) is an interdisciplinary study of life and life-like processes. Its two most important qualities are that it focuses on the essential rather than the contingent features of living systems and that it attempts to understand living systems by artificially synthesizing extremely simple forms of them. These two qualities are connected. By synthesizing simple systems that are very life-like and yet very unfamiliar, artificial life constructively explores the boundaries of what is possible for life. At the moment, artificial life uses three different kinds of synthetic methods. “Soft” artificial life creates computer simulations or other purely digital constructions that exhibit life-like behavior. “Hard” artificial life produces hardware implementations of life-like systems. “Wet” artifi- cial life involves the creation of life-like systems in a laboratory using biochemical materials.|
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