On the Mutual Influence of Human and Artificial Life: an Experimental Investigation
Stefano Furlan, , Giorgia Nadizar, Federico Pigozzi
Annual Conference on Artificial Life (Alife), held in Trento (Italy)
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Our modern world is teeming with non-biological agents, whose growing complexity brings them so close to living beings that they can be cataloged as artificial creatures, i.e., a form of Artificial Life (ALife). Ranging from disembodied intelligent agents to robots of conspicuous dimensions, all these artifacts are united by the fact that they are designed, built, and possibly trained by humans taking inspiration from natural elements. Hence, humans play a fundamental role in relation to ALife, both as creators and as final users, which calls attention to the need of studying the mutual influence of human and artificial life. Here we attempt an experimental investigation of the reciprocal effects of the human-ALife interaction. To this extent, we design an artificial world populated by life-like creatures, and resort to open-ended evolution to foster the creatures adaptation. We allow bidirectional communication between the system and humans, who can observe the artificial world and voluntarily choose to perform positive or negative actions towards the creatures populating it; those actions may have a short- or long-term impact on the artificial creatures. Our experimental results show that the creatures are capable of evolving under the influence of humans, even though the impact of the interaction remains uncertain. In addition, we find that ALife gives rise to disparate feelings in humans who interact with it, who are not always aware of the importance of their conduct.