Electric Sheep is a distributed screen-saver that harnesses idle computers into a render farm with the purpose of animating and evolving artificial life-forms known as
. The votes of the users form the basis for the fitness function for a genetic algorithm on a space of fractal animations. Users also may design sheep by hand for inclusion in the gene pool. This paper describes the system and its algorithms, and reports statistics from 11 weeks of operation. The data indicate that Electric Sheep functions more as an amplifier of its human collaborators’ creativity rather than as a traditional genetic algorithm that optimizes a fitness function.