The University of Sussex

Can evolutionary robotics generate simulation models of autopoiesis?

Tom Froese and Ezequiel A. Di Paolo

There are some signs that a resurgence of interest in modeling constitutive autonomy is underway. This paper contributes to this recent development by exploring the possibility of using evolutionary robotics, traditionally only used as a generative mechanism for the study of embodied-embedded cognitive systems, to generate simulation models of constitutively autonomous systems. Such systems, which are autonomous in the sense that they self-constitute an identity under precarious conditions, have so far been elusive. The challenges and opportunities involved in such an endeavor are explicated in terms of a concrete model. While we conclude that this model fails to fully satisfy all the organizational criteria that are required for constitutive autonomy, it nevertheless serves to illustrate that evolutionary robotics at least has the potential to become a valuable tool for generating such models.

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