Silicon Second Nature: Culturing Artificial Life in a Digital World
Stefan HelmreichISBN: 0520208005; 9780520208001;
Silicon Second Nature takes us on an expedition into an extraordinary world where nature is made of bits and bytes and life is born from sequences of zeroes and ones. Artificial Life is the brainchild of scientists who view self-replicating computer programs--such as computer viruses--as new forms of life. Anthropologist Stefan Helmreich's look at the social and simulated worlds of Artificial Life--primarily at the Santa Fe Institute, a well- known center for studies in the sciences of complexity--introduces readers to the people and programs connected with this unusual hybrid of computer science and biology. When biology becomes an information science, when DNA is downloaded into virtual reality, new ways of imagining "life" become possible.Through detailed dissections of the artifacts of Artifical Life, Helmreich explores how these novel visions of life are recombining with the most traditional tales told by Western culture. Because Artificial Life scientists tend to...