Sunday, April 06, 2008

Machines Like Us

After mentioning Steve Grand (not pictured!) in my recent post on AI, I decided to check on what he's up to these days. I revisited the web site of his company, Cyberlife Research, which is full of fascinating material on his various projects, along with a good dose of quirky humor (and some annoying frames). It hasn't changed much since 2006, but it's definitely worth some exploration if you are interested in artificial life, "hard" AI, simulation, robotics, etc.

He has added a link to another interesting web site called Machines Like Us, whose subjects are "evolution-cognition-artificial life." There are a lot of great articles archived here, written by a wide range of fascinating people. They also host a very handy Live Godcam.

Thinking Machines Corporation was a supercomputer company back in the 1980's and 1990's, founded by computer scientist Danny Hillis. They had a great motto, "We're building a machine that will be proud of us." They didn't manage to do that, but it really seems like evolution, intelligence, and life are starting to make the jump from biology to technology. Could our descendants turn out to be machines, or biological/technological hybrids? Why not? We're machines, and although we're complicated, there's nothing especially privileged about the "wetware" we currently run. But it does allow me to enjoy this pinot noir.

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