PCs, being generally more effective, have replaced typewriters in our everyday lives; but, at the same time, introduce a lot of complexity. As a result, many of us are left wondering at PCs as if they were mysterious ghosts in the machine: entities with powers we cannot explain or control, almost supernatural. We analyze this increase in technological complexity at two levels in our society, one economic and one scientific, and we discuss how the field of Artificial Life (ALife) can attempt to rescue our society. At the economic level, there is evidence that computers, being so much more complex, slow labor productivity down rather than increasing it (e.g., maintenance, malware, distractions). Computers are also the subject of debate surrounding technological unemployment. We advocate for ALife to focus on developments that, like the xenobots, are minimally intrusive to our everyday work and occupy unfilled economic niches. At the scientific level, the surge in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has begotten a plethora of complex algorithms that mimic the cognition happening in animal brains: they are usually not interpretable and even their creators struggle to make sense of them. We advocate for ALife to focus more on basal forms of cognition— cognition that requires as little “brain” as possible, potentially none; algorithms that think through their bodies, stripped of any superfluous complexity, just like typewriters.

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