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Authors: Witten, Ian H.
Keywords: Computer Science
Issue Date: 1-Dec-1985
Abstract: This paper examines the concept of autonomy as it pertains to computer systems. Two rather different strands of meaning are identified. The first regards autonomy as self-government or self-motivation. This is developed by reviewing some recent AI research on representing and using goals, together with physiological, psychological, and philosophical viewpoints on motivation and goal-seeking behavior. The second concerns the biological independence of organisms which have the ability to maintain their own organization in a capricious environment. The advantages of such organisms have been realized recently in a number of different computer contexts, and the examples of worm programs, self-replicating Trojan horses and viruses are introduced and discussed.
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