Cybernetics In Artificial Life

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Thesis Proposal Megha Sanyal 16510042 I. Rationale: Since the period of consolidation of the field of cognitive science, two dominant computational approaches have been the basis of its methodology : firstly, through the use of artificial intelligence, which includes both the symbolic and connectionist approach; and secondly through the use of cybernetics, which looked into the morphology and control of a particular system operating in an environment (Boden, 2006). Cybernetics, in its broadest sense, began as a field for understanding the common elements underlying the control and communication in automatic systems (Weiner, 1948). By looking into the mechanisms of the human body and machines, cybernetics has been directly involved in understanding…show more content…
The field looks into how natural life could emerge from the local behaviour of independent artificial agents which are built with the help of natural living objects. An example of artificial life project is the artificial fish developed by Terzopoulos and Tu. They have built an environment with artificial fish- like agents, while keeping in mind the following: “To this end, we pursue a bottom-up, compositional approach in which we model not just form and superficial appearance, but also the basic physics of the animal and its environment, its means of locomotion, its perception of its world, and last but not least, its behavior. The holistic nature of our approach to synthesizing artificial fishes is crucial to achieving realism.” (Terzopoulos and Tu, 1991). The goal of the project is to create an animated framework with these agents and have a minimal interference from the animator. An important thing to note here, and in any artificial life project is that, even though the medium of the project is virtual and non-material, in the environment itself, the agent needs to be built keeping in mind various principles of embodiment and embeddedness. As the authors mention above, the “physics, locomotion, perception and the behaviour” of the agent has to be the main focus of the animation so as to emulate behaviour that is as natural as possible. This argument is further also discussed by Katherine Hayles in her book ‘How we became Posthuman’ (Hayles, 2006). Virtual Reality can be considered the most obvious facilitator of the whole notion of disembodied and non-material information, which can be communicated in the form of bits. However, the importance of the agent’s body and the environment as is shown in the case of

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