Robots behaving badly
DOI link for Robots behaving badly
Robots behaving badly book
Hamilton's rule is one of the more controversial features of evolutionary biology in the last half-century. In an experimental test of Hamilton's Rule social organisms of any predictable kind such as wasps, ants, or even microbes were not used, but tiny mobile robots named Alice were. This chapter addresses a set of confusing questions that these robots raise. It explores whether they simulate something (life, evolution, sociality) or do they participate in something. The chapter examines what difference does embodiment make to the role of the robot in these experiments, where there are some subtle distinctions between what is abstract, what is digital, what is simulated and what is physical. Finally, the chapter addresses how do life, embodiment and social behavior relate in contemporary biology, and why is it possible for robots to illuminate this relation. Given these robots and their algorithms, we can assert that simulations (including robots simulating animals) animate theory: they bring theories to life in time.