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Artificial Life

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  303 ratings  ·  15 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 1993 by Penguin (first published May 30th 1992)
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Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Fascinating read but quite outdated
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book when I first read it in the early 90’s as a naive undergrad. It’s discoloured pages called out to me from a bookshelf rarely visited these days, and I’m glad I listened to its call. This book has stayed with me for nearly 30 years and even today it still managed to recreate the excitement and bullish ambition that characterised those formative years in my computer science journey. I loved re-reading about those early tentative but bold experiments in CAs, GAs, auto-catalytic nets ...more
Clemens Lode
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While already quite dated, this book gives a great and very exciting introduction into artificial life without going too much into details. It is written for beginners with no background in computer science---although it helps to have a general idea of how computers work.

It is written comprehensively with descriptions about the history of the development of the scientific field “artificial life”. The contents of the book range from the history of Artificial Life, to “Game of Life”, swarm behavi
George Higgins
Oct 18, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Wael Al-alwani
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tim Robinson
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't exactly read this book, but I did dip into it and it was very interesting. ...more
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun, imagination-stirring book I read back in my comp sci days.
Oct 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
K. P.
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic book. Levy's exposition is very clear, and his storytelling is intriguing. I couldn't put it down. ...more
Chris Feldman
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Allegedly one of Oshii's inspirations for the Ghost In The Shell series. ...more
Nov 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book about people trying to create "intelligence" in software. ...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.
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Steven Levy is editor at large at Wired, and author of eight books, including the new Facebook: the Inside Story, the definitive history of that controversial company. His previous works include the legendary computer history Hackers, Artificial Life, the Unicorn 's Secret, In the Plex (the story of Google, chose as Amazon and Audible's best business book of 2011), and Crypto, which won the Frankf ...more

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