This book demonstrates how and why vitalism—the idea that life cannot be explained by the principles of mechanism—matters now. Vitalism resists closure and reductionism in the life sciences while simultaneously addressing the object of life itself. The aim of this collection is to consider the questions that vitalism makes it possible to ask: questions about the role and status of life across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities and questions about contingency, indeterminacy, relationality and change. All have special importance now, as the concepts of complexity, artificial life and artificial intelligence, information theory, and cybernetics become increasingly significant in more and more fields of activity.

Computing the Human

Computing the human
N. KatherineHayles

Among the intriguing unwritten books are those exploring the influence of the future on the present. Who wouldn't leap at the chance to review the non-existent Influences of the Twenty-First Century on the Nineteenth? As this imaginary book would undoubtedly testify, visions of the future, especially in technologically advanced eras, can dramatically affect present developments. Of special interest, then, is the spate of recent works projecting a future in which humans and intelligent machines become virtually indistinguishable from one another. Through such emerging technologies as neural implants, quantum computing, and nanotechnology, humans will become computationally enhanced and computers will become humanly responsive until in a mere 100 years, by Ray Kurzweil's reckoning, we can expect that both humans and ...

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