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Artificial Life
Advanced Automation for Space Missions PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 21 April 2006

What follows is a portion of the final report of
a NASA summer study, conducted in 1980 by request of newly-
elected President Jimmy Carter at a cost of 11.7 million dollars.
The result of the study was a realistic proposal for a self-
replicating automated lunar factory system, capable of
exponentially increasing productive capacity and, in the
long run, exploration of the entire galaxy within a reasonable
timeframe. Unfortunately, the proposal was quietly declined
with barely a ripple in the press.

What was once concievable with 1980's technology
is now even more practical today. Even if you're just skimming
through this document, the potential of this proposed system
is undeniable. Please enjoy.

Narratives of Artificial Life - Katherine Hayles PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 21 April 2006

In contrast to the circular processes of Maturana's autopoiesis, the figure most apt to describe the third wave is a spiral. Whereas the second wave is characterized by an attempt to include the observer in an account of the system's functioning, in the third wave the emphasis falls on getting the system to evolve in new directions. Self-organization is no longer enough. The third wave wants to impart an upward tension to the recursive loops of self-organizing processes so that, like a spring compressed and suddenly released, they break out of the pattern of circular self-organization and leap outward into the new.

John von Neumann and the Evolutionary Growth of Complexity: Looking Backwards, Looking Forwards... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 21 April 2006



In the late 1940's John von Neumann began to work on what he intended as a comprehensive ``theory of [complex] automata''. He started to develop a book length manuscript on the subject in 1952. However, he put this aside in 1953, apparently due to pressure of other work. Due to his tragically early death in 1957, he was never to return to it. The draft manuscript was eventually edited, and combined for publication with some related lecture transcripts, by Burks (1966). It is clear from the time and effort which von Neumann invested in it that he considered this to be a very significant and substantial piece of work. However: subsequent commentators (beginning even with Burks) have found it surprisingly difficult to articulate this substance. Indeed, it has since been suggested that von Neumann's results in this area are either trivial, or, at the very least, could have been achieved by much simpler means. It is an enigma. In this paper I review the history of this debate (briefly) and then present my own attempt at resolving the issue by focusing on an analysis of von Neumann's problem situation (Popper, 1976). I claim that this reveals the true depth of von Neumann's achievement and influence on the subsequent deveopment of this field; and, further, that it generates a whole family of new consequent problems which can still serve to inform--if not actually define--the field of Artificial Life for many years to come.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 22 April 2006 )