"Imitators of Life"

BTG Issue: 
March/April 1992 | Vol. 26 No. 2
"The dream of creating life is hard to resist."

"In 1987 a young scientist named Chris Langton, from Los Alamos National Laboratory, put together in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the first conference on artificial life. The essence of life, he said, is organization transforming by rules, so we can study life effectively through computer simulation. ... Yet despite the humble start, artificial lifers seem confident that life will one day be embodied in silicon and freed from the constrains of carbon-based wetware. ... The idea that humans may be replaced by super intelligent machines is an old one. So instead of trying to analyze the prospects for artificial life, let me relate some stories from ... a treatise on machines in ancient India ... If this is true, it should be possible to create a technology of artificial life that directly takes advantage of the properties of the subtle body and the jivatma. ... Just as modern computers make cam-and-gearwheel devices old-fashioned, this Vedic technology ... would render gross physical technology – with its imagined super-human robots – obsolete."

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