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Artificial Life

Spring 2019, Vol. 25, No. 2, Pages 198-206
(doi: 10.1162/artl_a_00289)
© 2019 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Open-Endedness for the Sake of Open-Endedness
Article PDF (495.26 KB)
Natural evolution keeps inventing new complex and intricate forms and behaviors. Digital evolution and genetic algorithms fail to create the same kind of complexity, not just because we still lack the computational resources to rival nature, but because (it has been argued) we have not understood in principle how to create open-ended evolving systems. Much effort has been made to define such open-endedness so as to create forms of increasing complexity indefinitely. Here, however, a simple evolving computational system that satisfies all such requirements is presented. Doing so reveals a shortcoming in the definitions for open-ended evolution. The goal to create models that rival biological complexity remains. This work suggests that our current definitions allow for even simple models to pass as open-ended, and that our definitions of complexity and diversity are more important for the quest of open-ended evolution than the fact that something runs indefinitely.