Darwin Among the Machines

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9780140267440: Darwin Among the Machines

Here George Dyson considers the intriguing question of artificial life: the possibility that machines will one day come to life, or are even alive already. Dyson argues that life, having emerged once already through biological evolution, is presently emerging for a second time, on this occasion through the spontaneous evolution of intelligence within our rapidly expanding computer networks. Dyson shows that to a real extent we have created life, but have largely failed to notice. Others have considered this possibility and Dyson guides us through this alternative scientific and literary tradition, recounting the insights of historical figures such as Hobbes, Samuel Butler, Erasmus and Charles Darwin, as well as a variety of researchers from the 20th century.

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"In the game of life and evolution, there are three players at the table: human beings, nature and machine. I am firmly on the side of nature," writes George Dyson, "but nature, I suspect, is on the side of machines." In his challenging book, Dyson surrounds contemporary topics related to emerging information networks with historical context, illustrating an evolutionary dance between intelligence, nature and machines. Taking its title from an essay written by Samuel Butler in 1863, Dyson's story blends the antiquarian thinking of Thomas Hobbes, Erasmus Darwin and Gottfried Leibniz with modern research on neural networks and artificial intelligence. Dyson's perspective is unique and his style is deft, ensuring the readability of Darwin among the Machines: The Evolution of Global Intelligence. -- Amazon.com

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