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Intelligent Universe: AI, ET, and the Emerging Mind of the Cosmos Hardcover – Illustrated, 28 Feb 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 269 pages
  • Publisher: New Page Books,US; illustrated edition edition (28 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564149196
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564149190
  • Product Dimensions: 26.1 x 18.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,473,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"There is little doubt that Gardner's ideas will change yours." --Seth Shostak

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
James Gardner follows up his excellent BIOCOSM with this seminal text which includes and expands on his earlier thinking concerning the Anthropic Principle, acknowledged by Martin Rees (Astronomer Royal of the UK), Penrose and even Dawkins as probably the most interesting conundrum facing modern science. If you don't know what the Anthropic Principle is (and most people don't), I suggest you read Rees' JUST SIX NUMBERS. In a nutshell, Gardner expands the principle of Darwinian evolution and applies it to the entire universe, arguing that life, intelligence and consciousness are emergent properties of a properly set up Big Bang, and that finely-tuned universes like our own will evolve into super conscious organisms which can have children (via other finely-tuned Big Bangs), with the fine tuning itself being cosmic DNA). It sounds far out, and it is. But it is also probably not far from the truth, and I would not be surpised if Gardner's basic ideas long outlive him.
With speculative forays into artificial life, computer consciousness, the Fermi Paradox, religion, and other more sci-fi-like frontiers of discussion, Gardner also manages to summarise much of the cutting edge of thinking about these current and fast-evolving fields, and these sections of the book will probably date the fastest.
The book could have benefitted from a little more editing and time spent on layout and design (although it is less home-spun than BIOCOSM, which had endless inserts and boxes that interupted the read), but he is clearly devoted to explaining himself as clearly as possible, and these are small quibbles.
This book deserves to be widely read and discussed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The beginning of the book is tremendously interesting and summarizes all current knowledge about the universe. When you reach the appendices though (and that means quite a few pages), the author keeps repeating something like "In my previous book called... I developed the idea that..." and it feels like you're watching a TV programme and have to go through commercials. I found it particularly annoying. A very good read otherwise.
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