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Creation: Life and How to Make It
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Creation: Life and How to Make It

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  280 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Working mostly alone, almost single-handedly writing 250,000 lines of computer code, Steve Grand produced Creatures(R), a revolutionary computer game that allowed players to create living beings complete with brains, genes, and hormonal systems--creatures that would live and breathe and breed in real time on an ordinary desktop computer. Enormously successful, the game ine ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Harvard University Press (first published January 1st 2000)
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Felix Liao
May 29, 2014 marked it as to-read
Shelves: business
on Jeff Bezo's reading list ...more
Dec 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bricoleur  (David) Soul
Witty and provocative this is a great guide for a general audience - a kind of 'Zen Guide' to artificial life that is based not on the debunking or debasing of life but rather in its elevation to its proper place.

Grand is perhaps most widely known as the creator of "Creatures" the first computer game (circa 1997) based on the concept of artificial life but he is also a researcher in the field. In this book he lightly touches on the game but mainly he gives us a great tour of the main concepts of
Mar 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Started of interesting and philosophical.

In particular, I got captivated by the discussion of cellular automata, persistence and emergent behavior.

As the book went on, it lost its edge.
Nov 28, 2009 marked it as to-read
Through Richard Dawkins from his TED talk: ...more
Justin Cramer
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Though this nearly 20-year-old book is walking through 25-year-old thoughts about artificial life and, to a small extent, artificial intelligence it is a fascinating read for someone not in that field. If you have even a basic understanding of computer programming this book should be easy to understand from the technical side.

This is the kind of book I will reread every year to two as I expect to receive more insight with every pass.
Tayo Olajide
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though this is a tough read, it did present a lot of information on what ingredients are necessary to create "lives." Lives in this context mean products, services, or processes starting from the minutest element up to the whole and giving it essential properties that make it edifying, appropriate, and useful for its purpose. For those that design and engineer products, this book will be an invaluable addition to your repertoire. ...more
Henry Wood
Oct 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable read. Grand is funny and interesting. The philosophical and scientific depth to which he goes to build the foundations of his creatures are impressive. My one disappointment, as someone who dabbles in programming, was the lack of details concerning the implementation of his ideas in computer code.
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent and well thought out thesis, well ahead of its time. One can tell that this book encapsulates a man's life work as each detail is meticulously thought out and explained. I highly recommend this book to anyone, though it is slightly hard to get a hand on a copy. ...more
Jul 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
The author, who created the PC game Creatures, offers an intriguing view on what constitutues life and how one can simulate artificial entities in software. He concentrates on 'bottom-up' and 'emergent' design -- creating simple but dynamic systems from which more complicated and unplanned-for behavior can emerge -- as opposed to a 'top-down' approach that attempts to pre-program such behavior.

I cannot agree with some of the philosophical jumps he makes (I say his method creates models that simu
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nf-science
First and foremost this was an interesting and insightful read and lived up to my expectations.

It did disappoint me a little towards the end of the middle third of the book, when Steve decided to skip some of the detail and started to write in much more general way about some of the topics.

On a more personal level Steve touched on a number of topics that are very dear to my heart with this book, especially in his summary at the end and for that I would like to say thanks.
Robert Wilson
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding. One of the most insightful books you'll find on the relationship between human thought and artificial intelligence. A fantastic work that will teach you new things page after page. ...more
Mike Benner
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book on an unique way to create artificial life in a computer environment.
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7 likes · 1 comments
“[Think] of an experience from your childhood. Something you remember clearly, something you can see, feel, maybe even smell, as if you were really there. After all you really were there at the time, weren't you? How else could you remember it? But here is the bombshell: you weren't there. Not a single atom that is in your body today was there when that event took place. Every bit of you has been replaced many times over (which is why you eat, of course). You are not even the same shape as you were then. The point is that you are like a cloud: something that persists over long periods, while simultaneously being in flux. Matter flows from place to place and momentarily comes together to be you. Whatever you are, therefore, you are not the stuff of which you are made. If that does not make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, read it again until it does, because it is important.” 169 likes
“Life is not made of atoms,it is merely built out of them. What life is actually 'made of' is cycles of cause and effect, loops of causal flow. These phenomenon are just as real as atoms - perhaps even more real. If anything, the entire universe is actually made from events, of which atoms are merely some of the consequences.” 25 likes
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