Image from Anders Sandberg

A-lifes (sometimes known as alifes) are entities which have evolved in artificial life simulations. Instead of being designed like AIs, they evolve in a Darwinian way within a virtual environment (see Software Based Evolution).

A-life evolution occurs within specially designed virtual worlds, where evolution is possible or even necessary. Most a-life entities are non-sentient, but in certain circumstances a parasapient, or truly sophont entiety or species may evolve.

Alifes are usually extremely different from any beings evolved in the physical universe, and sophont alife beings often have no understanding of the real world, or any desire to interact with it.

While most alife simulations are intended as art, research or entertainment, alifes are generally regarded as having sentient rights within the Terragen Sphere. However it is understood that, in some parts of the Panvirtuality, vast and ancient a-life technospheres exist which have no knowledge of the outside world, and some of these simulations are subject to extreme forms of manipulation and experiment.

Some virch entities from more conventional cybercosms adapt themselves into forms that can enter evolved a-life technospheres, or use emulation suits; these virtual tourists sometimes cause evolutionary havoc inside the a-life worlds.
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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg and Steve Bowers
Initially published on 10 September 2001.