Written by Alan Winfield (transfered by Frances Griffiths prior to deletion of a Wiki page)
There are many definitions for Culture - see for instance the Wiki article on Culture. Most, perhaps not surprisingly, are human centred. The Oxford English Dictionary, for instance, defines culture simply as "patterns of human behaviour".
In this project we clearly need a working definition for culture, or to be precise, artificial culture, that makes sense both for robots, but has sufficient generality to allow us to (possibly) construct hypotheses about the processes and mechanisms for the emergence of human culture by analogy with our emerging artificial (robot) culture. (If, indeed, anything we can claim as artificial culture does emerge.)
A folk-definition of culture is simply the way we do things around here. This has some merit firstly because it is not species specific, and might apply to humans, whales, robots, or aliens. And secondly, because it is a differential rather than absolute definition - implying that the way one group does things is different to the way another group does (the same?) things.
Let me propose a working definition for artificial culture based on this:
Artificial (robot) culture is defined as: sustained and measurable emerging differences in behaviour between two or more groups of robots, where those groups have divided or split off from a common ancestral group, and the behaviours are traceable to common root behaviours in the ancestral group.