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The bit-economy: An artificial model of open-ended technology discovery


Correspondence to: Simon D. Angus, Department of Economics, Monash University, Clayton, 3800 Victoria, Australia (e-mail:


We describe and demonstrate an artificial model of technology discovery called the Bit-Economy. The model is built from a minimal set of fundamental hallmarks of technology and develops under an open-ended evolutionary operator which rewards new technology which is able to coordinate both spatially and temporally with the existing technology set. The Bit-Economy, is able to replicate several features of real technology development including nonmonotonic growth, bunching of creation and destruction events, qualitative topologies of patent networks, and efficiency and waste-management gains. In contrast to related works, we do not apply an exogenous fitness landscape and so are able to study the process of technology discovery as a self-guided search toward more complex outcomes. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Complexity 18: 57–67, 2013