It has long been observed that human cultural evolution is in some ways analogous to biological evolution, having reproduction with variation and a form of selection, but the fact that both technology and biology are physical brings them much closer than culture in general. Many have observed that they share universal traits that pervade their long-term trends, yet they seem so different. What is at the root of this? This paper considers a number of properties that would seem essential to any evolutionary system which produces real artefacts – construction, search, selection and various aspects of structure and organisation – and explains briefly how each operate in technological and biological evolution. This provides an initial attempt at a basic unified framework which can then be extended. Such a framework would help progress bio-inspired design, and suggest features to study on the way to meet the grand challenge of Open Ended Evolution.

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