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Growing up with Lucy: How to Build an Android in Twenty Easy Steps Paperback – 5 Aug 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (5 Aug 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753818051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753818053
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.7 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 471,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A fascinating, highly subjective blast from a maverick enthusiast with a relish for irritating academics." (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

"his account of the pain, expense and occasional rewards he experienced while raising his "daughter" though still complicated and provocative, is refreshingly personal and avuncular." (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

About the Author

Steve Grand was cofounder and director of technology at the UK-based CyberLife Technology. He left last year to start up Cyberlife Research, where he is attempting to build the world's first conscious machine. He is the inventor of the groundbreaking computer game 'Creatures'. A former visiting research fellow at the University of Sussex and columnist for a leading journal on artificial intelligence, he has written numerous articles and lectures widely on the topic of artificial life. He was nominated by The Sunday Times as one of 'The Brains Behind the 21st Century', and received a CBE in the millennium honours list for his contribution to the computer games industry.

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The first time I created life I did it the easy way. Read the first page
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3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Sue Wilcox on 20 Feb 2004
Format: Hardcover
Steve's goal is to build an intelligent android inspired by his understanding of the human brain. This book is the story so far of the creation of Lucy the robot (named for the famous fossil hominid). It's an experiment to circumvent what Steve sees as an impasse in current progress in AI which he describes as being 'stuck halfway up a dead end creek without a paddle'. Now Steve is not a neurologist, or a biologist, nor even an electrical engineer. He describes himself as a ‘non-disciplinary’ thinker. He's an ex-schoolteacher and a computer game designer, admittedly one so renowned for his advanced thinking that he received the OBE in acknowledgement of his work. The game he made is called 'Creatures' and represents a peak in artificial life software- it's about cute little beings called Norns that you raise from eggs and have to teach and train (and if you feel a bit godlike you can tinker with their software genes). But still this is not the sort of background one expects to lead to a career in robotics.
If you read his previous book "Creation: Life and How to Make It", you'll be aware of how radical his ideas can be. And perhaps not be so amazed at this next step in extraordinary ambition. But as he says, you can't jump to the moon incrementally. Reading this book is like trying to learn neurology and electrical engineering at the same time, with a bit of how to fly a plane thrown in for good measure. But it's so readable you can do it and laugh at the same time.
His project is to create a robot capable of developing a mammal-like intelligence (an orangutan is the current external model, mostly down to an ugly orange wig and long arms).
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Feb 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you already know anything about the author's work then you probably also have an opinion about this book. If you don't know anything about him (or his ideas) then I'll try and introduce the book.
Lucy is an anthropoid robot. Built by the author, Steve Grand to test his ideas about mammalian brains. This book details the best theories the author has to explain brain workings. However to do this Grand has written a greatly personal, introspective and partly autobiographical book.
It is a nice read, a pop science book which take you through the fun of playing with the real world for it's own sake. If you disagree with any of the science, I'm sure that you are welcome to (I couldn't find a single theory originated by Grand, that isn't prefaced with "This may be complete rubbish but..."). The theories are sometimes quite far reaching, of course, so perhaps the apologetic stance is required. I found it slightly inhibitory, there are much more daring theories of mind.
If you are a professional in this area, then you will be aware that there is certainly a place for outside thinkers, without new ideas subjects like cognitive science, AI and neuroscience will surely stagnate. I think that conjecture is a useful augury to building theories, and if you can accept that this is what is presented this book is certainly stimulating.
If you are simply curious about brains this book shows you one explanation, without closing many doors to other ideas or getting bogged down in all of the conflicting theories that are currently running riot in the academic journals.
To me it was a testament of the work that can be done, without much specialised equipment, outside 'normal academic circles' by someone who is simple intrigued to find out more.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fabulous book. It's like going to the pub and having a pint with a very easy going egghead with a sense of humour and who really wants you to understand the nuts and bolts of a very high scientific concept. In this case it's Artificial Intelligence and this book unassumingly covers the definitions and the machinations of trying to achieve what seems virtually impossible - making a machine think. Well written, amusing and informative. This bloke should be presenting Tomorrows World.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Despite the missing references, spelling and grammar mistakes littered throughout, the book is a very interesting and inspiring read. Self-taught and self-motivated, Steve Grand comes across as a very intelligent individual applying 'his' ideas to the field of A.I. Unlike a lot of books, displays a lot of science in the book which is jut the right amount.


Despite coming across rather intelligent, Steve seems very arrogant. The author misleadingly portrays that most research and knowledge in the field is incorrect and heading in the wrong direction. He frequently mentions how he performed his own research and modelling for the project, however you get the feeling he could of saved a lot of time, effort and money if he had done some basic research into what other had accomplished. The author misleads the reader by portraying he is pioneering new techniques into A.I such as applying 'Recurrent neural networks' to problems and that the widely used 'Feed forward Networks' are useless, there are many examples of this throughout the book.


Given how inspiring and interesting this read is I would like to give it a good review. However, as the books purpose is for the public understanding of science I have to punish it for the misleading remarks about the current state of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. If you know anything about A.I or computer science you will probably find this book very irritating to read.
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