Making fun things from the knowledge of evolution

Evolution is a powerful mechanism, and the powerful source that is behind it is decent with modification plus selection. In nature, it has taken us from simple chemical reactions to complex self-aware organism over billions of years. The structure of any living mammal is very complex, and biology is filled with complicated concepts, and nothing would make any sense if we didn’t know about the very simple concept of evolution. In nature, evolution explains why fossils of different ages look different, and it explains the origin of very complex structures like the cell, the immune system and the human brain, and this knowledge casts light over areas that doesn’t have anything to do with biology, like computer science and computer programming.

Designed structures are usually simple and have one or a few purposes, while evolved structures usually are complex and have multiple functions. Designed structures usually are things. Obstacles, roads, walls, jugs. Evolved structures usually work as things. Pipes, connections, obstacles, skeletons. This is because evolved structures come about without a given purpose, but are maintained and further developed if the structure is useful.

Can we use the knowledge of our origin get some fun out of our computer? Yes! I have mentioned John Conway’s game of life earlier.

This is EvoLisa. It is a program that draws polygons and compares them to a picture. Then it changes the polygons slightly, and again compares them to a picture. Changes that make the polygons look more like the picture are kept, other changes are discarded. The result is a computer generated vector based pictures that looks like the original picture. More generations of change and selection, gives a computer generated picture that is more like the original picture. Here, selection is based on comparison to the original picture, in nature, selection is based on what organisms till survive and reproduce.