Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul by Rudy Rucker
What Gnarly Computation Taught Me About Ultimate Reality, the Meaning of Life, and How to Be Happy

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Synopsis

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” goes the ancient saying. This concept is at the root of the computational worldview, which basically says that very complex systems—the world we live in—have their beginnings in simple mathematical equations.

We’ve lately come to understand that such an algorithm is only the start of a never-ending story — the real action occurs in the unfolding consequences of the rules. The chip-in-a-box computers so popular in our time have acted as a kind of microscope, letting us see into the secret machinery of the world. In Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul, Rucker — known as the father of cyberpunk — uses whimsical drawings, fables, and humor to demonstrate that everything is a computation — that thoughts, computations, and physical processes are all the same. Rucker discusses the linguistic and computational advances that make this kind of "digital philosophy" possible, and explains how, like every great new principle, the computational worldview contains the seeds of a next step.
 

About Rudy Rucker

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Rudy Rucker is Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at San Jose State University and the author of numerous books on mathematics and philosophy, including "Artificial Life Lab," "Mind Tools: The Five Levels of Mathematical Reality," and "The Fourth Dimension: A Guided Tour of Higher Universes." Among his works of science fiction are "White Light, Software," and "Space-Time Donuts.
 
Published September 9, 2005 by Thunder's Mouth Press. 560 pages
Genres: Computers & Technology, Education & Reference, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Rucker (As Above, So Below, 2003, etc.), a computer scientist and science fiction writer, examines Wolfram's dictum as it applies to questions ranging from the trivial to the existential.

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Publishers Weekly

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Timothy Leary meets Bill Gates in this muddled book, part memoir of a life spent teaching mathematical logic, part history of computer science, but mostly a long, strange quest for the meaning of life.

Jul 18 2005 | Read Full Review of Lifebox, the Seashell, and th...

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