Do you have any insider knowledge about this conference? Do you know if it tends to be interesting, have interesting people, be in touch with reality, etc?
Hey, one of the co-organisers of this special session here (I was planning to make a post about this on LW myself but OP beat me to it!).
Clearly I am biased, but I would highly recommend the ALIFE conference (even outside the context of this special session). I published a paper there myself at ALIFE 2021 and really enjoyed the experience.
It has a diverse, open-minded and enthusiastic set of attendees from a wide range of academic disciplines, the topics are varied but interesting. Regarding being in touch with reality, this is harder to comment on but it does typically include a lot of practical and empirical research, for example computer simulations, as well as more theoretical and philosophical work.
We are arranging this special session because we think that Artificial Life as a field, and in particular attendees of this conference, may have a lot to contribute to AI safety, so we are excited about the potential overlap between these areas.
Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions.
no insider knowledge; I have some outsider knowledge that makes me optimistic that there will be interesting things to be learned from people there. alife research has been focusing on things like https://chakazul.github.io/lenia.html, and now particle lenia, https://google-research.github.io/self-organising-systems/particle-lenia/, and it connects well with other research on related topics that I’ve had a hobby of making indexes of, eg this recent post.
here are the proceedings of the 2022 conference: https://direct.mit.edu/isal/isal/volume/33 - some papers that seem worth a skim, from those proceedings (I really wish lesswrong had hover-to-preview, use a chrome tab group or something to open the links quickly then flip through them fast):
but as a person who’s always focused on approximations and is kind of beginner at actually doing the math I like to read about, I can only offer a pointer to the conference.