Real artificial life: Where we may be

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Artificial life research typically employs digital computers to implement models of living systems. However, there is now a growing if pro-theoretical feeling that computers, or perhaps the software running on them, are themselves some kind of living systems. Such a possibility can impact artificial life research in at least two ways By highlighting that computers and comnnunications networks can be subjects, as well as tools, for artificial life muodelling, and by highlighting that insights, tools, and models from the life sciences can have explanatory, predictive, and design consequences for the construction of future computation and communications systems. This paper seeks perspective on such ‘real artificial life’, looking backwards and forwards at the rise of living systems in manufactured computer and communications systems