NAWKI October 2018 - Superheroes!

20 Nov 2018

NAWKI (life, but Not As We Know It), is a monthly series exploring the hypotheticals of real and artificial life

“Many superheroes gain their powers through science or science gone wrong. What powers from ALife would you try to give yourself or get in a terrible ALife lab accident?”

So for this months NAWKI we get introduce the Alife Lab super team!

pennyFR: Meta was created when the artificial chemistries accidentally became real and had to be absorbed to stop them destroying the world. Meta’s power is the ability to combine or breakdown people into different composite or more atomic people with different emergent properties. Used alongside other superhero’s this can produce some of the greatest powers ever seen or nothing. It’s a little hit or miss…

Iñaki Fernández Pérez: I present you Greg C. … THEY are Gregarious Colony, a legion of heterogeneous primitive bacteria, who self-organized eons ago to form a humanoid entity, of variable cohesion. Greg display several emergent properties, such as distributed sensing, reconfiguration, fast evolutionary cycle and capacity for adaptation, specialization and exaptation, and their ultimate power is called Become the Swarm: Greg fully disassemble, each individual becoming separate, while maintaining the capacity of communicating and coordinating to reassemble. As good scruffies, Greg go with the flow

Emily Dolsen: I really hope they have an alter-ego where they pretend to be an actual human named Greg

D9w: so my alife superpower would be awareness that we are actually living in a simulation and that genetic code is at the basis of this simulation; i.e. genetic code operates as it does in our simulation (the basis of life forms), but is also processed by the simulator. I therefore dedicate myself to genetic engineering, supposedly working on genetically modified super-avocados, but actually trying to create a virus to be executed in the simulator

pennyFR: And while your busy the super-avocados will turn evil and try to take over the world. Our first villain

(evil in their lack of a stone)

D9w: i was considering writing super narwhals and now am really sad I didn’t :stuck_out_tongue: but i think super-avocados makes for a more legitimate genetic engineering cover story. As for a name, I was imagining this as myself, but if this were a super hero character, I’d say Dr. Gwen Zhuang.

Gwenpool ( is a comic book character whose superpower is the knowledge that she’s inside a comic book and Zhuang Zhou’s “Butterfly Dream” ( is one of the earliest mentions of a simulation hypothesis. Dr Zhuang is aware of both of these examples and finds them *incredibly* suspicious as clues that she’s in a simulation, although she doesn’t understand why the simulators would be leaving her clues

You could say she’s just a normal scientist who’s crazy, but she knows that one time she was able to cause an error in the simulation by combining octopus and redwood tree genes, which resulted in her previous lab spontaneously combusting. She’s a long way from understanding the genetic code, but has nearly unlimited funding from avocado lobbyists and won’t stop until she can control and eventually leave the simulation


The lobbyists are actually the avocados. She doesn’t know it but she is slowly betraying us all to their whims.

SuperArturo: I was thinking recently about the differences between abstractions and idealisations, and then it hit me: my ALife superpower would be to abstract reality, like in that scene from inside out:

The name would be “The Deconstructor.” I’d be of True Neutral alignment and possibly start in the more villainous side, as I raise funds for my ambiguous science hahaha

Emily Dolson: In a freak lab accident while studying memetic evolution, I would gain the ability to perfectly predict the flow of ideas through a social network. Then I would be able to subtly manipulate public opinion by being able to release exactly the right meme at the right the time. I would attempt to use my powers only for good but, you know how subjective these things can be some times…

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