9780306460029 / 0306460025

Artificial Worlds


Publisher:Basic Books



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About the book:

In their laboratories, complexity scientists have been experimenting with complex chemicals that display some of the characteristics of life, and have created electronic computer-virus-like life-forms that are born, die, reproduce, mutate, and evolve. Through these artificial worlds they have actually been able to monitor evolution as it happens, since it takes place at a much more rapid pace within a computer - where new species can evolve in as little as an hour. Among the phenomena that these scientists hope to observe are the evolution of multicellular life forms, and possibly even the evolution of electronic intelligence. Could it be that life itself is an emergent property that arises spontaneously when a chemical system attains a certain degree of complexity? At the cutting edge of discovery, this exciting new branch of science has fostered a rare and intriguing dialogue between innovators across a broad range of disciplines, from mathematicians, computer scientists, and economists, to anthropologists and biologists. Richard Morris makes this major field of inquiry accessible to a popular readership as never before, while he reveals its potential to solve the greatest of all questions to puzzle humankind - what is life?

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