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The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me about Ultimate Reality, the Meaning of Life, and How to Be Happy

by

The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me about Ultimate Reality, the Meaning of Life, and How to Be Happy Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:


?A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,? goes the ancient saying. This concept is at the root of the computational worldview, which basically says that very complex systems (the world we live in) have their beginnings in simple mathematical equations. We?ve lately come to understand that such an algorithm is only the start of a never-ending story: the real action occurs in the unfolding consequences of the rules. The chip-in-a-box computers so popular in our time have acted as a kind of microscope, letting us see into the secret machinery of the world. In Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul, Rucker, known as the father of cyberpunk, uses whimsical drawings, fables, and humor to demonstrate that everything is a computation; that thoughts, computations, and physical processes are all the same. Rucker discusses the linguistic and computational advances that make this kind of "digital philosophy" possible, and explains how, like every great new principle, the computational worldview contains the seeds of a next step.

Review:

"Timothy Leary meets Bill Gates in this muddled book, part memoir of a life spent teaching mathematical logic, part history of computer science, but mostly a long, strange quest for the meaning of life. UC-San Jose computer scientist Rucker argues that all of reality is a mathematical computation. Like most computation, physical reality — such as the wind driving leaves on a tree — produces 'gnarly,' interacting and nonrepeating patterns. Moreover, even human consciousness is computation, as shown by the lifebox. A device Rucker invented in one of his science fiction novels, it's a gadget that preserves an individual's life; to Rucker, a lifebox reduces a person simply to a computerlike device that uses software to access the personality. Yet, by the end, he decides that gnarly computation, though it might be the key to reality, doesn't hold the meaning of life, which is beauty and love. And individuals, he concludes, can be happy by 'turning off the machine' and 'opening their hearts.' Rucker blissfully spouts his facile pop psychology, but most readers will be lost in the gnarled prose of computer science and bogs of poorly explained mathematical logic. Agent, Russell Weinberger." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Rucker--known as the father of cyberpunk--uses whimsical drawings, fables, and humor to demonstrate that everything is a computation, that thoughts, computations, and physical processes are all the same.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781560257226
Subtitle:
What Gnarly Computation Taught Me About Ultimate Reality, the Meaning of Life, and How to Be Happy
Author:
Rucker, Rudy
Author:
Rucker, Rudy Von B.
Publisher:
Basic Books
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Mathematics
Subject:
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Subject:
Artificial Intelligence
Subject:
MATHEMATICS / Computer Mathematics
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
October 2005
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
80 BandW illustrations
Pages:
560
Dimensions:
9.13 x 7 in 37 oz

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Related Subjects

Computers and Internet » Computers Reference » History and Society
Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Modeling

The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul: What Gnarly Computation Taught Me about Ultimate Reality, the Meaning of Life, and How to Be Happy Used Hardcover
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Product details 560 pages Thunder's Mouth Press - English 9781560257226 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Timothy Leary meets Bill Gates in this muddled book, part memoir of a life spent teaching mathematical logic, part history of computer science, but mostly a long, strange quest for the meaning of life. UC-San Jose computer scientist Rucker argues that all of reality is a mathematical computation. Like most computation, physical reality — such as the wind driving leaves on a tree — produces 'gnarly,' interacting and nonrepeating patterns. Moreover, even human consciousness is computation, as shown by the lifebox. A device Rucker invented in one of his science fiction novels, it's a gadget that preserves an individual's life; to Rucker, a lifebox reduces a person simply to a computerlike device that uses software to access the personality. Yet, by the end, he decides that gnarly computation, though it might be the key to reality, doesn't hold the meaning of life, which is beauty and love. And individuals, he concludes, can be happy by 'turning off the machine' and 'opening their hearts.' Rucker blissfully spouts his facile pop psychology, but most readers will be lost in the gnarled prose of computer science and bogs of poorly explained mathematical logic. Agent, Russell Weinberger." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Rucker--known as the father of cyberpunk--uses whimsical drawings, fables, and humor to demonstrate that everything is a computation, that thoughts, computations, and physical processes are all the same.
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