Darwin’s Devices

Darwin’s Devices
Автор: Long John
Язык: английский
Год: 2012
Добавил: Admin 20 Апр 14
Проверил: Admin 20 Апр 14
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The challenge of studying evolution is that the history of life is buried in
the past—we can’t witness the dramatic events that shaped the adaptations we
see today. But biorobotics expert John Long has found an ingenious way to
overcome this problem: he creates robots that look and behave like extinct
animals, subjects them to evolutionary pressures, lets them compete for mates
and resources, and mutates their ‘genes’. In short, he lets robots play the
game of life.
In Darwin’s Devices, Long tells the story of these evolving biorobots—how they
came to be, and what they can teach us about the biology of living and extinct
species. Evolving biorobots can replicate creatures that disappeared from the
earth long ago, showing us in real time what happens in the face of unexpected
environmental challenges. Biomechanically correct models of backbones
functioning as part of an autonomous robot, for example, can help us
understand why the first vertebrates evolved them.
But the most impressive feature of these robots, as Long shows, is their
ability to illustrate the power of evolution to solve difficult technological
challenges autonomously—without human input regarding what a workable solution
might be. Even a simple robot can create complex behavior, often learning or
evolving greater intelligence than humans could possibly program. This
remarkable idea could forever alter the face of engineering, design, and even
An amazing tour through the workings of a fertile mind, Darwin’s Devices will
make you rethink everything you thought you knew about evolution, robot
intelligence, and life itself.

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