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Artificial Life: A Report from the Frontier Where Computers Meet Biology
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Artificial Life: A Report from the Frontier Where Computers Meet Biology

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  218 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
This enthralling book alerts us to nothing less than the existence of new varieties of life. Some of these species can move and eat, see, reproduce, and die. Some behave like birds or ants. One such life form may turn out to be our best weapon in the war against AIDS.

What these species have in common is that they exist inside computers, their DNA is digital, and they have
Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 27th 1993 by Vintage (first published May 30th 1992)
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Artificial Life by Steven LevyIntroduction to Artificial Life by Christoph AdamiArtificial Life by Christopher G. LangtonCreation by Steve GrandThe Garden in the Machine by Claus Emmeche
Artificial Life
1st out of 12 books — 2 voters
The Systems View of Life by Fritjof CapraThe Ecological Rift by John Bellamy FosterThis Changes Everything by Naomi KleinEmergence by Steven JohnsonSync by Steven H. Strogatz
Complex Systems (networks, ecology, etc.)
22nd out of 49 books — 15 voters

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Jul 26, 2011 Patrick rated it really liked it
Ah, the book responsible for a strange little diversion in my life. There I was, a 19 year old first year linguistics student, when I borrowed this book from my mathematics student flatmate. And I thought - "this is really interesting, how can I get into it?" and ended up - someone who hadn't programmed a computer in my life - switching to study artificial intelligence. Which led some years later to working as a programmer in a chaotically run start-up as the dotcom boom petered out... An experi ...more
A bit dated in light of recent advances, the book is 20 years old now, but still a nice summary of ideas in the field.
George Higgins
Oct 18, 2007 George Higgins rated it liked it
Recommends it for: AI people
This was a very interesting read. I am interested in Artificial Intelligence, not a good title since I make little distinction between thinking devices made of proteins and those made of other material, except that the protein made thinking devices have been in development for a long time and are vastly superior in many ways to the others. This book takes complexity seriously, so it is a good read for me.
Ben Schaffer
Nov 30, 2014 Ben Schaffer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oct 07, 2012 Gogs rated it really liked it
I read this as it was suggested as a good introduction to Artificial Intelligence, however whilst there is elements of AI mentioned it primarily focuses, as the title suggests, on Life.

Nevertheless, a good read albeit at times a hard slog for those like me that are not overly scientific
Wael Al-alwani
Nov 12, 2011 Wael Al-alwani rated it really liked it
I read this book 3 years ago.. it is definitely amongst the best popular-science books I read. As the name implies, this book talks about computer algorithms inspired from biology, cell programming, in silico, and much more interesting stuff.
Brent Werness
Jan 13, 2013 Brent Werness rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a very formative book for me on my path to becoming a mathematician. I read it when I was in 4th grade, and it completely boggled my youthful mind. No clue how it holds up now 20 years later, but it gets 5 stars for the memory.
Dec 18, 2011 Hank rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011

Really two-and-a-half stars. A light-weight overview of efforts to build 'reproducing' computer programs. The author admits even any-type behavior will not be possible for years.
Mar 08, 2013 Phoenix rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book. Levy's exposition is very clear, and his storytelling is intriguing. I couldn't put it down.
Chris Adami
Jul 18, 2011 Chris Adami rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The first laymen's book about Artificial Life, and also the most influential. By now it is somewhat dated.
Tim Robinson
May 09, 2016 Tim Robinson rated it really liked it
I didn't exactly read this book, but I did dip into it and it was very interesting.
Chris Feldman
Aug 01, 2009 Chris Feldman rated it really liked it
Allegedly one of Oshii's inspirations for the Ghost In The Shell series.
Nov 27, 2011 Dan rated it really liked it
Fascinating book about people trying to create "intelligence" in software.
Feb 10, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
A fun, imagination-stirring book I read back in my comp sci days.
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Steven Levy (born 1951) is an American journalist who has written several books on computers, technology, cryptography, the Internet, cybersecurity, and privacy. Levy is chief technology writer and a senior editor for Newsweek, writing mainly in the "Science & Technology" section. He also writes the column "Random Access" in the monthly feature "Focus On Technology." Levy is also a contributor ...more
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