Horizon - [1990-06-11]
Artificial life is a field of study and an associated art form which examine systems related to life, its processes, and its evolution, through the use of simulations with computer models, robotics, and biochemistry. The discipline was named by Christopher Langton, an American computer scientist, in 1986. There are three main kinds of alife, named for their approaches: soft, from software; hard, from hardware; and wet, from biochemistry. Artificial life imitates traditional biology by trying to recreate some aspects of biological phenomena. The term "artificial intelligence" is often used to specifically refer to soft alife.
Artificial life studies the logic of living systems in artificial environments in order to gain a deeper understanding of the complex information processing that defines such systems.
Also sometimes included in the umbrella term "artificial life" are agent based systems which are used to study the emergent properties of societies of agents.
While life is, by definition, alive, artificial life is generally referred to as being confined to a digital environment and existence.