Darwin Among The Machines

Darwin Among the Machines :
The Evolution  of Global Intelligence (Helix Books)
by George B. Dyson

  • Emergent behaviour is that which cannot be predicted through analysis at any level simpler than that of the system at a whole. (p. 9)
  • Everything that human beings are doing to make it easier to operate computer networks is at the same time, but for different reasons, making it easier for computer networks to operate human beings. [...] As we develop digital models of all things great and small, our models are faced with the puzzle of modeling themselves. As far as we know, this is how counciousness evolves. (p. 10)
  • Rules are simple, results are complex. (p. 12)
  • ... a chicken is an eggs way of making another egg ... (p. 28)
  • “Metabolism and replication, however intricately they y be linked in the biological world as it now exists, are logically separable. It is logically possible to postulate organisms that are omposes of pure haredware and capable of metabolism but incapable of replication. It is logically possible to postulate organisms that are compose of pure hardware and capable of metabolism but incapable of replication. It is also possible to postulate organisms that are composed of pure software and capable of replication but incapable of metabolism.” (Freeman Dyson, Origins of Life, p. 6 - nach John von Neumanns General and logical theory of automata) The origins of liefa as we know it - and life as we are creating it - are to be found in the cross-fertilizatio9n between self-sustaing metabolism and self-replicationg code. (p. 32)
  • “When an image is produced by an action upon the external senses, the actions on the organs of sense concur with the actions in the brain; and the image is then a Reality. When an image occurs to the mind without a corresponding simultaneous action of the body, it is called a Thought. The power to distinguish between a thought and a reality is calle Conciousness.” (Alfred Smee - 1818-1877 - in: Principles of the Human Mind deduced from Physical Law.) (p. 46)

George Dyson is an author, designer, and historian of technology whose interests have ranged from the history and prehistory of the Aleut kayak (Baidarka, 1986) to the evolution of digital computing and tele- communications (Darwin Among the Machines, 1997) and, most recently, nuclear bomb-propelled space exploration (Project Orion, 2002). His early life and work, contrasted with that of his father, physicist Freeman Dyson, was the subject of Kenneth Brower's The Starship and the Canoe, published in 1978.