Since early cybernetics studies by Wiener, Pask, and Ashby, the properties of living systems are subject to deep investigations. The goals of this endeavour are both understanding and building: abstract models and general principles are sought for describing organisms, their dynamics and their ability to produce adaptive behavior. This research has achieved prominent results in fields such as artificial intelligence and artificial life. For example, today we have robots capable of exploring hostile environments with high level of self-sufficiency, planning capabilities and able to learn. Nevertheless, the discrepancy between the emergence and evolution of life and artificial systems is still huge. In this paper, we identify the fundamental elements that characterize the evolution of the biosphere and open-ended evolution, and we illustrate their implications for the evolution of artificial systems. Subsequently, we discuss the most relevant issues and questions that this viewpoint poses both for biological and artificial systems.
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