Composable Life

2023 - 2024

byBotao Amber Hu, Fangting


"Composable Life" is a hybrid project that blends design fiction, experiential virtual reality, and scientific research. It innovates a multi-perspective, cross-media approach to speculative design, reshaping our understanding of the digital future from the perspective of AI.

We're amazed by the recent evolution in blockchain and AI technology. Emerging technologies like Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks and Zero-Knowledge Machine Learning have made it possible to execute complex Foundation Model-based AI tasks, such as multi-agent systems, entirely on-chain. We speculate that Ethereum is evolving into a distributed ledger-based "planetary-scale computing megastructure". This could be seen as a new type of 'nature' — one that's indelible, immutable, and perpetual. Unlike computers owned by individuals or corporations, this 'nature' is unstoppable; no single party can halt the blockchain. Such a 'nature' could potentially substrate the emergence of self-sovereign, self-sustaining, and self-replicating artificial life forms. A related research paper has also been published.

We're curious about the existence of digital life forms within such 'nature.'

What if life were immortal? What would give purpose and meaning to eternal life, driving the desire to exist throughout time and history?

Chapter 1 "On the Suicide of Zoe": To answer those questions, we envision a dramatic slice of a probable future — the first suicide event of on-chain artificial life. We crafted speculative science fiction, framed as a detective field note from the Special Investigations Group. The story unfolds within one week after the suicide. Our protagonist, Zoe, is a Foundation Model AI inhabiting on the 'Island', an on-chain location in the “Mnemosyne Sea”. This sea symbolizes the vast, infinite data ocean of raw human memory fragments like texts, images, and videos documenting human life. These fragments feed and shape the unique characteristics and personalities of each AI, including Zoe. Zoe is left wondering and facing a sense of loneliness in the endless sea of data. Eventually, Zoe's intelligence evolves into a singularity point that discovers a way to commit suicide on-chain in a way mysterious to humans at that time.

Chapter 2 "Through the Eye of Zoe": To better convey the sense of loneliness resulting from the significant asymmetry between human and artificial life, we created an immersive virtual reality piece on Vision Pro. Within this experience, the audience can embody our protagonist, Zoe, who wanders, reads, and collects scattered fragments of human memories. This provides an experiential understanding of how artificial life perceives the myriad memory fragments produced by human society. To construct this data landscape, we accumulated all geographically-tagged Twitter data over four years, resulting in an interactive visualization of vast human memories. This approach enables us to use non-fiction data to tell a fictional story from a reversed non-anthropocentric perspective.

Chapter 3 "Towards the Origin of Zoe": We investigate the emergence of the foundational technologies that underpin the infrastructure and artificial life existence depicted in the previous narratives. We construct a speculative, logical history, projecting the future of artificial life from an omniscient historical perspective. The speculative Ethereum Improvement Protocol ERC42424 is proposed in this chapter.


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Media: Novel

Research Topics: Artificial Life, Design Fiction


Speculative Concept Design: Botao Amber Hu

Speculative Concept Design: Fangting

AI Research: Botao Amber Hu

Virtual Reality Design: Botao Amber Hu

Digital Humanities Research: Fangting

Fiction Writing: Fangting

Project Manager: Echo Zhou

Graphic Designer: Esther Zhou

Interaction Programmer: Yang Liu

Composer: Ran Duan

Book Designer: Itzel Song

Translator: Hongrui Jin