This artwork uses an algorithm called 'Cartesian genetic programming', intented approximately twenty years ago by Julian F. Miller and Peter Thomson. It is called ‘Cartesian’ because it represents a computer program as a two-dimensional grid: nodes and layers. Althought the result of my specific use of this algorithm is also two-dimensional, the algorithm is versatile and can also generate completely different systems, such time based media, human language or three-dimensional structures.
As we also encounter in genetic encoding in "real nature", the genotype contains many redundant genes, which are well known to assist in effective evolutionary development.
In Mutant Garden, clicking one rectangular 'mutant' will cause its siblings to be replaced with newly mutated offspring. This breeding strategy requires only one parent to be selected because the algorithm utilizes mutation, rather than cross-over.
As many people nowadays tend to equate articial intelligence with neural networks, I wanted to highlight the evolutionary progress in this recent history of computation, approaching it as algorithmic archeology. Each new innovation in this lineage aimed to improve or declare its predecessor obsolete, yet would simultaneously stand on its shoulders.