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AIRE Masterclass presents: Ricard Solé

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- 13:00 Online

AIRE Masterclass presents: Ricard Solé

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AIRE Masterclass presents: Ricard Solé

The AIRE-LiSc Master is excited to host Ricard Solé, Research Professor at the Catalan Institute for research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) and head of the Complex Systems Lab located at the PRBB, for its first 2021 Masterclass!

Prof. Solé is interested in "understanding the possible presence of universal patterns of organization in complex systems, from prebiotic replicators, cancer, multicellularity, viruses, protocells or language to evolved artificial objects." His research is an exquisite blend of experimental and theoretical work and spans many fields.

The Masterclass will be held online and registration for non-LiSc students is mandatory. A zoom link to join will be sent on Friday morning before the event to all registered participants. Limited spots available!

Title:

Synthetic transitions: the roads not taken

Abstract

Evolution is marked by well-defined events involving profound innovations that are known as ‘major evolutionary transitions’. They involve the integration of autonomous elements into a new, higher-level organization whereby the former isolated units interact in novel ways, losing their original autonomy. All major transitions, which include the origin of life, cells, multicellular systems, societies or language (among other examples), took place millions of years ago. Are these transitions unique, rare events? Have they instead universal traits that make them almost inevitable when the right pieces are in place? Are there general laws of evolutionary innovation? In order to approach this problem under a novel perspective, we argue that a parallel class of evolutionary transitions can be explored involving the use of artificial evolutionary experiments where alternative paths to innovation can be explored. These ‘synthetic’ transitions include, for example, the creation of a living cell, the artificial evolution of multicellular systems or the emergence of language in evolved communicating robots. Moreover, we can also consider the creation of synthetic ecosystems and how to use them to engineer our biosphere. These alternative scenarios could help us to understand the underlying laws that predate the rise of major innovations and the possibility for general laws of evolved complexity.


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