Preface to the Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Artificial Life

Ikegami, Takashi, Nathaniel Virgo, Olaf Witkowski, Mizuki Oka, Reiji Suzuki, and Hiroyuki Iizuka. “Preface to the Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Artificial Life.” In ALIFE 2018: The 2018 Conference on Artificial Life , pp. ix-xvii. MIT Press, 2018.

This volume presents the proceedings of ALIFE 2018, the 2018 Conference on Artificial Life, held July 23rd-27th. It took place in Tokyo, Japan ( The ALIFE and ECAL conferences have been the major meeting of the artificial life (ALife) research community since 1987 and 1991, respectively. As a Hybrid of the European Conference on Artificial Life (ECAL) and the International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems (ALIFE), the 2018 Conference on Artificial Life (ALIFE 2018) will take place outside both Europe and the US, in Tokyo, Japan.

The ALIFE 2018 proceedings clearly show the transition from the 90’s ALife studies to 2020’s New ALife studies. Much of this transition is contingent on the emergence of new technologies, which have deeply affected the research ecosystem of ALife, as for the rest of the academic landscape. But as technology advances, ALife’s importance becomes particularly key, given its unique generative approach in addressing the emergence of life, self-organization phenomena in the data revolution, and the future evolution of machine intelligence.

The field has remarkably also been expanding to arts, design and many more disciplines. Nowadays, beyond C. P. Snow’s cultural divide between science and the arts, Artificial Life truly attempts to span all fields of study. The university is not anymore the unique place where a serious study of ALife can be pursued. There are rich resources of new ideas outside the academic domain.

Our hope is this conference reinvents the spirit of ALife and spreads it across all fields and disciplines. As an attempt in this direction, we have organized an art session parallel to the main track. A few months ahead of the main conference, Ryuta Aoki and his team have organized an art hackathon called ”ArtHackDay 2018”. A total number of 237 people have participated in the hackathon, and three best art works were selected, which will be exhibited at the main conference. We hope that those art works will contribute to promote the broadening field of artificial life.