Full of historical anecdotes but this is much than a history book George Dyson weaves his threads together for a purpose Using voices of the past and present, he describes a fresh and sometimes startling viewpoint of the emerging relationship between nature and machines From vignettes about Olaf Stapledon, George Boole, John von Neumann, and Samuel Butler, a larger story develops in which the twin processes of intelligence and evolution are inseparably intertwined Danny Hillis, Wired...
|Title||:||Darwin Among the Machines|
|Publisher||:||Penguin 1 M rz 2012|
|Number of Pages||:||304 Seiten|
|File Size||:||766 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Darwin Among the Machines Reviews
The book was not too bad. On a positive note, it provided a overview of a topic that is incredibly complex in terms that can be grasped by anyone with a moderate vocabulary. But here's the rub, I found the writing to be somewhat boring, mainly because Dyson has a tendency to cram in more information than is really necessary to make his point. I often felt that he was being a little ostentatious by trying to demonstrate a breadth of knowledge that included literary allusions to texts that to me were unrelated to the topic. Still, I'm gald I read it. I definitely know more about AI than before I opened the book.
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. Von Neuman's influence is described in detail in many places, for his contributions to mathematics, game theory, computing, the Cold War defense system, and the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton.Students looking for a concise description of the history of "distributed communication" (most familiarly now the Internet) will also find a great and amusing chapter in this book. Dyson has written a remarkably compact description of how the issues and concerns of the defense establishment encouraged the creation of what we now know as the Internet.The boundlessness of the book, its avoidance of the shelter of one or a few strict disciplines, is among its greatest attractions. If anyone ever asks you what a liberal arts education is, point them to this book. There is no better book on how ideas live and grow across generations.Darwin Among the Machines is science writing, intellectual history, personal essay, and more.
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!
I think that the ideas in this book are important ones, but the book takes on a dull, dry, monotone, which makes finishing the book its only pleasure. I find it difficult to be too hard on this book because I feel that I learned something important, but for the life of me, I can't think of what it was I gained from this book.
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.
Who is going to listen to Dyson's preaching? His religion is a very sad one because it makes human beings feel very small. A book to be read like good wine, a little bit at a time with many breaks to think about what one has read.