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Electric Sheep

Screensaver Generated by Global Network of Computers

— January 24, 2007 — Art & Design
Electric Sheep is the collision of open source technology, artificial intelligence & living art. It is also a screen saver.

What is an electric sheep? As explained by creator Scott “Spot” Draves:

“Electric Sheep is a free, open source screen saver run by thousands of people all over the world. It can be installed on any ordinary PC or Mac. When these computers 'sleep', the screen saver comes on and the computers communicate with each other by the internet to share the work of creating morphing abstract animations known as 'sheep'. The result is a collective 'android dream', an homage to Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep..”

Users install the screen saver on their computer (Mac or PC). When the computer enter a power save mode the screen saver will communicate with other computers using the electric sheep program and using the combined computing power generate new “abstract animations” or “sheep”. Users (me and you) can vote on the “sheep” we see on our screens using the same simple format as Caesar at the coliseum. Up arrow key is good for the sheep a down arrow key and it could be the end.

The Sheep constantly grow and change based on the communities input and the computers connected. The animations are quite stunning but then again if you don't like them you can vote them out. Electric sheep maybe a sort of strange populist Darwinism but, it most certainly is a great example growing trend of coupling computer programming and art.

If you're interested in helping propagate the electric sheep population you can download the program at here.

Other similar artists include: Joshua Davis and James Paterson.

Check out Scott “Spot” Draves blog here.
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