Creation: Life and How to Make It

4.2 out of 5 stars 36 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0674011137
ISBN-10: 0674011139
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Steve Grand is the creator of what I think is the nearest approach to artificial life so far, and his first book, Creation, is as interesting as you would expect. But he illuminates more than just the properties of life; his originality extends to matter itself and the very nature of reality.”Richard Dawkins, The Guardian

“If you’ve heard about A-life but aren’t quite sure what it is or where it’s going, Grand’s book is an excellent place to enter one of the more exciting areas of twenty-first-century science.”John L. Casti, Nature

“When Steve Grand developed his artificial-life computer game Creatures nine years ago, he never dreamed that 1 million people would play it and come to care deeply about the lives of their virtual pets. Creatures allowed players to design these pets, or norns, and observe how they interacted with their environment and with other norns. The norns have computer-simulated hormones and DNA. They eat and breed. They fall in love. According to Grand’s book Creation…‘Creatures was probably the closest thing there has been to a new form of life on this planet in four billion years.’ That’s a pretty startling claim, but as Grand explains in his strangely accessible and consistently surprising book, whether or not you believe it depends on your definition of what’s alive. Grand―now two years into building a 4-month-old robot orangutan named Lucy―argues that our traditional notion of life is just now beginning to change.”Suzy Hansen, Salon

“Grand’s entertaining but highly educational, historical, and intensely philosophical book on artificial life takes readers inside the mind of the creator of one of the more popular games, Creature[s], and its follow-ons. This personal account of the developmental steps of the game and its lifelike artificial creature in a rich cyberworld not only highlights the magic of how the creatures are programmed, but also provides a glimpse into the philosophy, implications, perspectives, and dilemmas in making them. This book is written not only to detail the highly technical aspects of the inner world image of the game, but also to enrich, incite, and promote the general awareness of synthetically generated beings… Delightful to read, easy to understand, and interesting to gamers and nongamers alike.”J. Y. Cheung, Choice

“[Creation is] the latest word on computer intelligence, from the designer of a popular computer game… On the whole, Grand succeeds in providing useful hints to computer-savvy readers without drowning laymen in details of programming. At the same time, he gives an entertaining glimpse of the game itself, with descriptions of ‘Ron,’ the first creature he programmed for the computer game. Smoothly written and thought-provoking―worth a look for anyone curious about computer intelligence.”Kirkus Reviews

“Blending aspects of philosophy, computer science, artificial intelligence, biology and computer gaming, Grand attempts to define life, discuss the nature of the human soul and demonstrate how it is possible to create entities that demand to be called both living and intelligent. A tall order indeed, and to wonderful effect… [Grand] is at his best describing the problems encountered and the solutions used to animate his virtual universe. While at first glance Grand’s definitions of life might be off-putting, he explains his terms clearly and carefully, guiding the reader comfortably through various levels of discussion… [E]njoyable and thought-provoking.”Publishers Weekly

“Very occasionally somebody from outside academia comes along and shows us academics how to do something we’ve been working on for years. Steve Grand showed us how to build a universe of evolving creatures, without the prevailing academic biases. This delightful book is a fresh and inspiring account of how to succeed in creating artificial life.”Rodney Brooks, Director, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT

“A giant leap forward into a new and unknown world…awe-inspiring.”Douglas Adams, on the computer game Creatures

About the Author

Steve Grand is co-founder and former Director of Technology at Creature Labs, a firm based in the United Kingdom. He has written and lectured widely on the topic of artificial life and was nominated by the Sunday Times (of London) as one of “The Brains behind the 21st Century.” His latest research objective is to build the world’s first conscious machine.

Product details

  • Publisher : Harvard University Press (May 30, 2003)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 240 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0674011139
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0674011137
  • Item Weight : 12.2 ounces
  • Dimensions : 6.13 x 0.6 x 9.25 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 36 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
36 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on December 26, 2012
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Reviewed in the United States on January 1, 2010
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Reviewed in the United States on June 20, 2003
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Reviewed in the United States on February 22, 2007
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Reviewed in the United States on July 9, 2004
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Reviewed in the United States on August 25, 2016
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Top reviews from other countries

Jonathan D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I read it.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 17, 2019
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Cate
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 22, 2020
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Bozemoto
3.0 out of 5 stars As advertised but completely uninteresting
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 28, 2014
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A family of goats
5.0 out of 5 stars Quintessential popular science
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 5, 2003
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R. Whitehead
4.0 out of 5 stars Very readable, entertaining, thought-provoking
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 10, 2001
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