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The Intelligent Universe: AI, ET, and the Emerging Mind of the Cosmosby James Gardner
Synopses & Reviews
What is the ultimate destiny of our universe? That is the striking question addressed by James Gardner in The Intelligent Universe.
Traditionally, scientists (and Robert Frost) have offered two bleak answers to this profound issue: fire or ice. The cosmos might end in fire — a cataclysmic Big Crunch in which galaxies, planets, and life forms are consumed in a raging inferno as the universe contracts in a kind of Big Bang in reverse. Or the universe might end in ice — a ceaseless expansion of the fabric of space-time in which matter and energy are eternally diluted and cooled; stars wither and die, and the cosmos simply fades into quiet and endless oblivion.
In The Intelligent Universe, James Gardner envisions a third dramatic alternative — a final state of the cosmos in which a highly evolved form of group intelligence engineers a cosmic renewal, the birth of a new universe. Gardner's vision is that life and intelligence are at the very heart of the elegant machinery of the universe. It is a viewpoint that has won outspoken praise from an array of leading scientists, including Sir Martin Rees, Britain's Astronomer Royal, and Templeton Prize winner Paul Davies.
The Intelligent Universe is both a look into the past and a road map for the future of the universe. It explores the mysteries of the universe and of consciousness, and provides a frank and fascinating look at where our minds are taking us.
"Physicist and author Gardner expands on the themes of his 2003 title Biocosm, incorporating concepts of artificial intelligence, non-biological life and the possibility of extra-terrestrial intelligence. It is helpful, but not necessary, to have read Biocosm, as Gardner does provide a recap on his way to proposing that the universe itself is a form of life and that advanced artificial intelligence might be able to create more universes capable of developing more life. Gardner's highly speculative propositions are presented in a passably written narrative, and he incorporates well-documented material from a wide range of past and contemporary thinkers, including Kurzweil, Bedau, Vinge, Penrose, Gould and Dawkins. Unfortunately, he makes the same mistake for which he criticizes others-assuming that because a given phenomena is not understood or observed at present, it never will be, thus justifying outrageous speculation or quasi-religious reasoning. In addition, Gardner ignores decades of research in chemosynthesis and abiogenesis, his understanding of evolutionary processes seems superficial and his knowledge of chemistry (including the chemical characteristics of elements) is clearly limited. As such, he mistakenly suggests, repeatedly, that well-understood processes are in fact scientific mysteries. For those interested in the cutting edge of contemporary physics (and its attending philosophy), Gardner's book is helpful; nevertheless, a healthy skepticism is highly recommended." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"There is little doubt that Gardner's ideas will change yours." Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute
Gardner's vision is that life and intelligence are at the very heart of the elegant machinery of the universe. It is a viewpoint that has won outspoken praise from an array of leading scientists, including Sir Martin Rees, Britain's Astronomer Royal, and Templeton Prize winner Paul Davies. The Intelligent Universe is both a look into the past and a road map for the future of the universe. It explores the mysteries of the universe and of consciousness, and provides a frank and fascinating look at where our minds are taking us.
About the Author
James Gardner, a well known and widely published complexity theorist, lives in Portland, Oregon. His first book, Biocosm, was selected as one of the ten best science books of 2003 by the editors of Amazon.com and was featured in major stories in Time, U.S. News & World Report, Harper's, and National Geographic and other major publications. Gardner's path-breaking scientific articles have appeared in Complexity (the scientific journal of the Santa Fe Institute), Acta Astronautica (the scientific journal of the International Academy of Astronautics), the International Journal of Astrobiology, and the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. He is a regular lecturer at prominent institutions around the world.
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Reference » Science Reference » General
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