The fallacy of general purpose bio-inspired computing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Bio-inspired computing comes in many flavours, inspired by biological systems from which salient features and/or organisational principles have been idealised and abstracted. These bio-inspired schemes have sometimes been demonstrated to be general purpose; able to approximate arbitrary dynamics, encode arbitrary structures, or even carry out universal computation. The generality of these abilities is typically (although often implicitly) reasoned to be an attractive and worthwhile trait. Here, it is argued that such reasoning is fallacious. Natural systems are nichiversal rather than universal, and we should expect the computational systems that they inspire to be similarly limited in their performance, even if they are ultimately capable of generality in their competence. Practical and methodological implications of this position for the use of bio-inspired computing within artificial life are outlined.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publicationArtificial Life X: Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems
EditorsL.M. Rocha, L.S. Yaeger, M.A. Bedau, D. Floreano, R.L. Goldstone, A. Vespignani
PublisherMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Press
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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