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Darwin Among The Machines: The Evolution Of Global Intelligence (Helix Books) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 8. Oktober 1998

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Taschenbuch, 8. Oktober 1998
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Here's a mesmerizing account of the evolution of machines and thoughts about machines, woven into a story about the evolution of intelligence. Darwin Among the Machines is not so much about how today's intelligence came to be, but about how it may further develop as humanity and computer grow closer together. George Dyson tells the story largely through stories--both historical and legendary--from the lives of scientists and philosophers who paved the way for today's cybernetics revolution, starting with the 17th-century insights of Thomas Hobbes. This book challenges the assumption that nature and machine are opposing forces. Dyson believes them to be allies. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


“An extraordinarily exciting, intriguing and very idiosyncratic book.... An almost perfect example of the effective literary treatment of scientific subjects.”

Los Angeles Times
“An original, creative work of intellectual history.”
“A cogent, succinct history of thinkers and thinking that paved the way, occasionally unwittingly, to today’s technology.”
-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.

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"Nature (the Art whereby God hath made and governes the World) is by the Art of man, as in many other things, so in this also imitated, that it can make an Artificial Animal," wrote Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) on the first page of his Leviathan; or, The Matter, Forme, and Power of a Common-wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill, published to great disturbance in 1651. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Peter Harrison am 25. Juni 2000
Format: Taschenbuch
The title implied that this book was about Artificial Life - evolution as applied to machines. Rather it is more of a collection of biographys of scientists involved with this field.
I found the book very difficult to read, with very little relevant details for modern researchers in Artificial Life and complex systems. Even as a 'historical' book it is long winded, and does not bring the people being described alive. Rather dissaponting for a book with such a nice title.
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Format: Taschenbuch
George Dyson has the rare skill of being able to put flesh on ideas. He is particularly good at Samuel Butler(evoked in the title essay) and a few Darwins: Erasmus (a great character and, we learn here, Mary Shelly's inspiration for Dr. Frankenstein), his grandson Charles (Origin of Species), and brief mention of Charles' grandson Sir Charles Darwin (who headed the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) which employed Alan Turing, but was unable to gain support for Turing's project to build an "Automatic Computing Engine" in 1945). Selected against.
The Chapter on Butler is worth the price of the book. Readers will also encounter many obscure names brought alive with interesting detail and then fit into the evolution of a familiar technology. For example, Dyson explains how wooden tally sticks, used as a primitive, secure means of record keeping in the English (twelfth century) pre-history of banking, both facilitated the establishment of a banking system and served as an early precursor and model for encryption keys.
Familiar, iconographic names, Charles Babbage and John Von Neuman, to name just two examples, are shown in somewhat different, and more human, light than they are usually presented. Babbage, for example, was a prophet of telecommunications whose early ideas for what we now call packet switching revolutionized the British mail system. Babbage analyzed the operations of the British postal system and found that its costs were governed more by switching than by distance. His recommendaton of a flat rate service was introduced in 1840 as the penny post.
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Format: Taschenbuch
This book is valuable on many fronts. The historical presentation of evolutionary theory and thought is priceless. Dyson brings us back to the development of evolutionary thought and subtly (and at times not so) suggests that we reconsider some of the ideas that have been abandoned. This reminder of the processes of organization prepare us for a nice discussion of the development of computers. Even computer pros are bound to learn things here. Remember, the author's father worked with these original developers. Once this is all established, Dyson then points out a few things that have deep, deep, deep implications. His use of science fiction to illustrate these ideas is great.
Dyson's presentation is full of reliable information. It is humorous and he makes connections where I would have missed them otherwise. His argument is astounding, but plausible and probable. He is subtle and never argues with the reader. Rather, he takes ideas and gives them to you in a manner that says "What if we consider these things in this way?"
I think that the theory suggested about the future of global intelligence here is actually too deep for many people to catch the first time through. It is so different from the other predictions that I have read. Perhaps people choose not to pay attention to this, I don't know.
I have the utmost respect for the mind that put these pieces together. I think that this book is ahead of its time, and the ideas presented here will be returned to in a decade or so. AT that point, the book will no longer be a predictor, but rather our guide to the world we live in.
I encourage everyone interested in the relationship between techonology and society to read, re-read, and ponder this book. It can and will fundamentally alter the way you think about everything.
Bravo, Mr. Dyson!
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Von Ein Kunde am 14. September 1999
Format: Taschenbuch
Dysons book does several things exeptionally well, while it fails to convince entirely. Among it strenghts is the history of thoughts about AI and machinery from a darwinian vantage point that it provides. If you frequently need valuable quotations and background information about visionary minds leading to todays technical revolution, expecially if you wish to put it into a more historical perspective, look no further. There is a wealth of them in this book. Also, if happen to enjoy a certain wealth of information that still leads somewhere, and find historical research important and fun to read, this is among the things that the book does quite well. On the downside the understanding of the philosophy of the mind and consciousness is not up to date, many questions arising from this are not adressed properly. A certain amount of not too complicated logical/scientific knowledge is required. Definitely a good read about a somewhat worrying vision of a possible evolutionary path, though not on a par with heavyweights such as "the selfish gene", or "Darwins dangerous idea".
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