This is the startling story of a new science - the science of artificial life. It is a science born out of the world of computers, but there is nothing cold or mechanical about it. Instead, making use of the unique capabilites of these sophisticated machines, an extraordinary array of microbiologists, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, and ...Read MoreThis is the startling story of a new science - the science of artificial life. It is a science born out of the world of computers, but there is nothing cold or mechanical about it. Instead, making use of the unique capabilites of these sophisticated machines, an extraordinary array of microbiologists, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, and evolutionary theorists has actually succeeded in creating objects that look and act very much like living organisms. They grow, evolve, mutate, 'fight' with each other, die - and do all this spontaneously, without interference from their human creators. Arguably, these 'creatures' are alive. Steven Levy, a prize-winning American science journalist, here takes us on a dazzling trip into the heart of this new scientific discipline, to show us not only how the exotic organisms that already populate its computer screens - cellular automatons, animats, biomorphs, ants, viruses and more - but also the large scientific issues it hs begun, for the first time, to explore. The remarkable ability of computers to actually depict a system as it develops offers a new way to look at evolution, intelligence, reproduction, mutation and other still-mysterious aspects of nature, and of life itself. Levy tells his story through the scientists - some famous, like geneticist Richard Dawkins and mathematician John von Neumann, others obscure, but all unusual - whose work and ideas have made a-life a reality. We go into their labs, hear their debates, are a party to their dreams and obsessions (some bizarre indeed) and in the end get a clear, comprehensible, and utterly fascinating overview of an inportant new frontier of science. Surprising and engrossing, Artificial Life will appeal to anyone who enjoyed The Cuckoo's Egg or The Soul of a New Machine.Read Less
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