Computers are changing. Soon the silicon chip will seem like a clunky antique amid the bounty of more exotic processes on offer. Robots are changing too; material evolution and swarm intelligence are creating a new generation of devices that will diverge and disperse into a balanced ecosystem of humans and ‘robjects’ (robotic objects). Somewhere in between, we humans will have to change also… in the way we interact with technology, the roles we adopt in an increasingly ‘intelligent’ environment, and how we interface with each other.

The driving motors behind many of these changes will be artificial life (A-Life) and unconventional computing. How exactly they will impact on our world is still an open question. But in the spirit of collective intelligence, this anthology brings together 38 scientists and authors, working in pairs, to imagine what life (and A-Life) will look like in the year 2070. Every kind of technology is imagined: from lie-detection glasses to military swarmbots, brain-interfacing implants to synthetically ‘grown’ skyscrapers, revolution-inciting computer games to synthetically engineered haute cuisine. All artificial life is here.

Featuring scientific contributions from: Martyn Amos, J. Mark Bishop, Seth Bullock, Stephen Dunne, James Dyke, Christian Jantzen, Francesco Mondada, James D. O'Shea, Andrew Philippides, Lenka Pitonakova, Steen Rasmussen, Thomas S. Ray, Micah Rosenkind, James Snowdon, Susan Stepney, Germán Terrazas, Andrew Vardy and Alan Winfield.

Supported by TRUCE (Training and Research in Unconventional Computation in Europe).

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About the author

Prof. Martyn Amos was awarded the world's first PhD in DNA computing; he is currently a senior lecturer in computing and mathematics at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. Ra Page is the editor of The City Life Book of Manchester Short Stories and the founder and managing editor of Comma Press. He has edited several anthologies published by Comma, including Lemistry: A Celebration of the Work of Stanislaw Lem and Litmus: Short Stories from Modern Science. He has written for the Guardian, the New Statesman, and the Times, and was the recipient of a Jerwood Foundation Bursary. Between 2000 - 2003 he was deputy editor of City Life and a director of the Manchester Poetry Festival.
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Publisher
Comma Press
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Published on
15 Jun 2015
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Pages
390
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
Literary Collections / General
Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018
ONE OF THE ECONOMIST'S BOOKS OF THE YEAR

"My new favorite book of all time." --Bill Gates

If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.

Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.

Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature--tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking--which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation.

With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.
‘It seems probable that there are no more moss witches; the times are cast against them. But you can never be certain. In that sense they are like their mosses; they vanish from sites they are known to have flourished in, they are even declared extinct – and then they are there again, there or somewhere else, small, delicate but triumphant, alive. Moss Witches, like mosses, do not compete; they retreat….’

Each story in Sara Maitland’s new collection enacts a daring kind of alchemy, fusing together raw elements of scientific theory with ancient myth, folkloric archetype and contemporary storytelling. As the laboratory smoke settles, we are treated to a new strain of narrative: a hybrid of fiction and non-fiction, the atavistic and the futuristic. We’re also introduced to a weird and wonderful cast of characters: identical twins who fight bitterly day and night for purely quantum mechanical reasons; an expert on bird migration awaiting the homecoming of her lover on the windswept shores of the Hebrides. All the more remarkable is that each of these stories sprang from a conversation with a scientist and grew directly out of cutting-edge research. As befits their hybrid nature, each is also accompanied by an afterword, specially written by the consulting scientist to introduce us to the wonder behind the weirdness.

Featuring:
SCIENTISTS: Prof. Jim Al-Khalili, Dr. Rob Appleby, Dr. Melissa Baxter, Dr. Jamie Davies, Prof. Robin Dunbar, Dr. Charles Fernyhough, Prof. Robert Furness, Dr. Linda Kirstein, Gemma Lewis, Prof. Tim O’Brien, Dr. Neil Roberts, Dr. Jennifer Rowntree, Dr. Tara Shears, Prof. Ian Stewart.

The relationship between sleep and storytelling is an ancient one. For centuries, sleep has provided writers with a magical ingredient – a passage of time during which great changes miraculously occur, an Orpheus-like voyage through the subconscious daubed with the fantastic. But over the last ten years, our scientific understanding of sleep has been revolutionised. No longer is sleep viewed as a time of simple rest and recuperation. Instead, it is proving to be an intensely dynamic period of brain activity: a vital stage in the re-wiring of memories, the learning of new skills, and the processing of problems and emotions.

How will storytelling respond to this new and emerging science of sleep? Here, 14 authors have been invited to work with key scientists to explore various aspects of sleep research: from the possibilities of ‘sleep engineering’ and ‘overnight therapies’, to future-tech ways of harnessing sleep’s problem-solving powers, to the challenges posed by our increasingly 24-hour lifestyles. Just as new hypotheses are being put forward, old hunches are also being confirmed (there’s now a scientific basis for the time-worn advice ‘to sleep on a problem’). As these responses show, sleep and the spinning of stories are still very much entwined.

Featuring scientific contributions from: Prof Russell G. Foster, Isabel Hutchison, Dr. Simon Kyle, Dr. Penny Lewis, Dr. Paul Reading, Stephanie Romiszewski, Prof Robert Stickgold, Prof Manuel Schabus, Prof Ed Watkins, Prof Adam Zeman, Dr. Thomas Wehr.

This project was supported by the Wellcome Trust.

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