About this Research Topic
An open question in evolutionary biology is: would rewinding and replaying the evolutionary tape of life, again result in the evolution of the vast array of organisms and intelligent life observable in nature today?
This question leads to the open research topic: What are the features common to all evolutionary processes and given open-ended evolution, what is inevitable in the open-ended evolution of life? Specifically, what are the minimal environmental and evolutionary conditions necessary to achieve evolutionary transitions from simple organisms with specific functionality to relatively diverse and complex organisms with general functionality.
Such questions have confounded the field of artificial life for decades, though with the recent proliferation of cheap synthetic robotic materials, 3D printing, and increased computational processing power, the field of evolutionary robotics has emerged as viable experimental platform to address such grand questions.
Evolutionary robotics experiments in silico and in materio can be used to elucidate the key developmental and evolutionary processes responsible for the emergence of diverse, complex forms of “general problem solving” intelligent life. To this end, such experiments can include many perspectives, for example, the co-evolution of form and function (morphology and behavior) as robotic organisms collectively compete and cooperate for resources, the evolutionary interaction between an organism’s genotype, phenotype and its environment, and the developmental processes responsible for the evolution of genotypes translating to sufficiently complex, robust and adaptable phenotypes.
This Research Topic is interdisciplinary and thus aims to integrate expertise from a diverse set of research fields that complement each other. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Open ended evolution of robots in silico and in materio.
- Evolutionary robotics as an open-ended evolution experimental platform for studying the origins of life.
- Developmental artificial evolution.
- Morphological and behavioral evolution.
- The interaction of evolution and learning as an adaptive process.
- The interaction of cooperation and competition in driving the evolution of complexity.
- Emergence of collective behavior in open-ended evolution.
Keywords: Open-Ended Evolution, Evolutionary Robotics, Artificial Life, Developmental Artificial Evolution
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