Week 7: A-Life: Does God Exist?

In week 7, the topic of algorithms, Information, Fractals, and A-Life was discussed. I felt like A-Life was most fascinating subject since it is the product of all topics that was discussed in week 7. As Wilson writes, “Artifical life is one area of algorithmic and mathematial inquiry that has attracted great interest. Can the patterns of biological life be sufficiently understood that researchers could write algorithms to represent these rules and simulate life? The mathematics of nonlinear dynamics is an essential tool in much of this research.” Also, one of the art work created by Karl Sims, a computer animator, “uses fractal techniques to generate organic-looking 3-D forms.”

Reading about different art works regarding A-Life raised questions about theory of evolutoin and existence of God.

One of the artwork that intrigued me is called “Phototropy,” which was done by Christa Sommerer and Laurent Mignommneau. In Phototropy, there are computer-generated creatures that competes for lights which is nutrition that are necessary for them to live and reproduce, which its offsprings will carry their genetic codes. The ones that does not get enough lights will die off, however, if the creature gets too much exposure to the light, it will also die. The light is provided by visitors who move their flashlights around, so the visitors can impact the destiny of the creatures and their offsprings. Therefore, visitors can control the evolution of the creatures.

Another artwork is called “Galapagos” done by Karl Sims, which his artwork was mentioned above. Galapagos works by having a computer program that uses rich array of computer algorithms in order to create muliple computer graphics, then having viewers to select which image they find most attractive. Then the selected images will be reproduced by passing down some of its features, and more graphics will be generated based on the features that has been passed down, and the process repeats.

In both artworks, the viewers are very influential in the species’ evolution. In a sense, the viewers are the nature that forces the principle of survival of the “fittest”

It is questionable how much more advanced us humans are compared to any other species. There are animals that have comparable intelligence, such as dolphins, but in no way they are technologically delevoped as we are. No other animals are as self-aware as we are. It makes me wonder if there were any divine intervention that allowed the human race to be evolved, just like how the viewers in the artworks influenced which ones get to survive and evolve. Some may think it was just combination of lucky coincidences that allowed humans to happen, but to me the coincidence seems too purposeful to be only considered meaningless concidences.

Sean Min


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