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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diffucult but absorbing, 1 Nov 2007
This review is from: Darwin Among The Machines: The Evolution Of Global Intelligence (Helix Books) (Paperback)
Sometimes difficult concepts can be the most rewarding and this book is an example: full of interesting ideas about life, evolution and the connections between mathematics and music, Darwin Among the Machines will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in technology, artificial intelligence and the history of machines.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dazzling, 2 Sep 2011
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S. Moore "Starborn" (england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darwin Among The Machines: The Evolution Of Global Intelligence (Helix Books) (Paperback)
This is a remarkable book and a sequel is due (sept 2011).The author is from a mathematical/ scientific family and very familiar with many branches of science;evolutionary biology;brain science;physics ;maths ;and history of science and has wide artistic knowledge to boot.

There are some very imaginative pictures.The juxtaposition for instance of the development of computers and the changes in banking and finance;the growth of artificial intelligence and methods of war;the struggle to create artificial and autonomous intelligence and to create life;or the meaning of intelligence (and of meaning itself) with the evolution of music.Quite a feast! Scintillating and illuminating,showing a kind of movement within the substructure of human consciousness.

But something is also frustrating.
Over and over again one is brought up again the question "What then is intelligence"?

The question comes up in every chapter and the frustration is that this question is really one of philosophy.

Every chapter ends in a kind of either /or,a limbo in which the question whether ordered fragments,electrical,genetic,atomic or merely mechanical can in some way become autonomous and self reproducing and replicating;and whether ,if they do that constitutes a new 'life' form which will share the planet with people .Whether that would be MIND itself.

But not once does Dyson grasp the idea of" Wholeness" as for example explained in David Bohm's work.
That wholeness comes FIRST and constitutes what we call an "idea "and the ordered fragments are the results of the loss of wholeness of the idea is not once mentioned.

So the book dazzles and leaves you breathless but unsatisfied. But if you can supply the missing key ,then the book makes many illuminating links and connections and it's follow up should be interesting.
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