Synopses & Reviews
As timely now as it was when it was first published in 1997, Darwin Among the Machines tells the story of humankind’s long journey into the digital age. Historian of technology George Dyson traces the course of the information revolution, illuminating the lives and work of visionaries—from Thomas Hobbes to John von Neumann—who foresaw the development of artificial intelligence, artificial life, and artificial mind. Weaving a convincing, occasionally frightening narrative of the evolution of the global network, Dyson explores the limits of Darwinian evolution to suggest what lies ahead. Computer programs and worldwide networks are combining to produce an evolutionary theater in which the distinctions between nature and technology are increasingly obscured, he argues. We are living in the midst of an experiment—one that echoes the prehistory of human intelligence and the origins of life. Now in a new paperback edition, this classic work on the emergence of collective mechanical intelligence will resonate for generations to come.
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 todays technology.”
Includes bibliographical references (p. 229-261) and index.
About the Author
George Dyson is a historian of technology and the author of Turing’s Cathedral, Baidarka, and Project Orion. He lives in Washington State.
Table of Contents
2. Darwin Among the Machines
3. The General Wind
4. On Computable Numbers
5. The Proving Ground
6. Rats in a Cathedral
8. On Distributed Communications
9. Theory of Games and Economic Behavior
10. Theres Plenty of Room at the Top
11. Last and First Men
12. Fiddling While Rome Burns