Juste Raimbault and Denise Pumain, members of the Géographie-cités laboratory, presented a paper entitled “Innovation dynamics in multi-scalar systems of cities” at the ALIFE 2023 conference, held in Sapporo (Japan) from July 24 to 28, 2023. This paper is published in the open-access conference proceedings.

Innovation dynamics in social and technological systems are strongly linked to urban systems and their multi-scale properties. Understanding underlying processes is crucial for sustainable territorial planning. We introduce a multi-scalar model for innovation dynamics in systems of cities, coupling a macroscopic innovation diffusion and urban dynamics model with mesoscopic models for local innovation clusters. The model parameter space is explored, and we apply a bi-objective optimisation algorithm with objectives across scales. Implementing indicators for downward causation, we finally investigate with a diversity search algorithm the diverse regimes of emergence the model can produce. This suggests strong emergence is captured, confirming the relevance of multi-scale approaches to artificial societies and urban simulation.

Raimbault, J., & Pumain, D. (2023, July). Innovation dynamics in multi-scalar systems of cities. In ALIFE 2023: Ghost in the Machine: Proceedings of the 2023 Artificial Life Conference. MIT Press.

ALIFE 2023: Ghost in the Machine: Proceedings of the 2023 Artificial Life Conference

Conference Theme

Ghost in the machine

Artificial life seeks to unravel the mysteries of life and mind, to naturalise the “ghost in the machine” . What is life? What is the mind? Are these two concepts related?

These ghosts are however elusive, and difficult to identify or even just define at times. To try and learn more about the mind, research in artificial life and other related fields has more recently focused on studies of complexity, emergence, agency, autonomy, or information theory. As a result, this has led to major advancements in robotics, synthetic biology, and artificial intelligence, among others. The main research programs in these areas however seem to be simply forgetting about the mind, rather than trying to explain it.

At the same time, with the advent of new technologies such as brain-machine interface, cyborgization, virtual/augmented reality, and the metaverse, the boundaries between agents/living organisms and their environment have begun fluctuating. Minds are no longer in our (living organism) shells, expanding beyond current spatial boundaries and into a new form of the “extended mind” hypothesis. At ALIFE 2023, we will bring back the focus to studies of the mind, facing the challenges and embracing the opportunities that come with studies of an often neglected but ever so important concept in both artificial life research and our daily lives.