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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

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  198 ratings  ·  13 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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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 3 of 5 stars
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.
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
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
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 3 of 5 stars
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.
A fantastic book. Levy's exposition is very clear, and his storytelling is intriguing. I couldn't put it down.
Chris Adami
The first laymen's book about Artificial Life, and also the most influential. By now it is somewhat dated.
Chris Feldman
Allegedly one of Oshii's inspirations for the Ghost In The Shell series.
Fascinating book about people trying to create "intelligence" in software.
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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