The goal of the Evolution of Technology Lab (ETL) is to develop an evolutionary theory of technological complexity. We have many empirical (often anecdotical) studies about technological systems. But there is no established consensus about what technology is and how it develops. In the search of universal principles, we have compared the evolution of natural and artificial systems. An striking possibility is that the evolution of technology is not different (in their fundamental processes) from other systems, and thus providing a reliable empirical system for testing general hypotheses. What is the role played by emergence, convergence and environmental fluctuations in the origin of natural and artificial innovations?
Our lab uses different approaches to extend evolutionary theory beyond the original domain of biology. This effort depends on both empirical analysis and theoretical modelling. An unique approach of our lab is the complex networks perspective of the evolution of technology, which we have developed over the years (see our review paper here). We also develop systematic ways to recollect and analyse the rich fossil record of inventions.
About the PI: Dr. Sergi Valverde is a Tenured Scientist at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC). He is also Visiting Professor at the degree of Biomedical Engineering of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Fellow of the European Center for Living Technology (ECLT) and long-time collaborator of the Complex Systems Lab.
Keywords: Evolution, Technology, Complex Systems, Network Science, Artificial Intelligence.