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From Literature to Biterature: Lem, Turing, Darwin, and Explorations in Computer Literature, Philosophy of Mind, and Cultural Evolution

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From Literature to Biterature is based on the premise that in the foreseeable future computers will become capable of creating works of literature. Among hundreds of other questions, it considers: Under which conditions would machines become capable of creative writing? Given that computer evolution will exceed the pace of natural evolution a million-fold, what will such a From Literature to Biterature is based on the premise that in the foreseeable future computers will become capable of creating works of literature. Among hundreds of other questions, it considers: Under which conditions would machines become capable of creative writing? Given that computer evolution will exceed the pace of natural evolution a million-fold, what will such a state of affairs entail in terms of art, culture, social life, and even nonhuman rights? Drawing a map of impending literary, cultural, social, and technological revolutions, Peter Swirski boldly assumes that computers will leap from mere syntax-driven processing to semantically rich understanding. He argues that acknowledging biterature as a species of literature will involve adopting the same range of attitudes to computer authors (computhors) as to human ones and that it will be necessary to approach them as agents with internal states and creative intentions. Ranging from the metafiction of Stanislaw Lem to the "Turing test" (familiar to scientists working in Artificial Intelligence and the philosophers of mind) to the evolutionary trends of culture and machines, Swirski's scenarios lay the groundwork for a new area of study on the cusp of literary futurology, evolutionary cognition, and philosophy of the future.


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From Literature to Biterature is based on the premise that in the foreseeable future computers will become capable of creating works of literature. Among hundreds of other questions, it considers: Under which conditions would machines become capable of creative writing? Given that computer evolution will exceed the pace of natural evolution a million-fold, what will such a From Literature to Biterature is based on the premise that in the foreseeable future computers will become capable of creating works of literature. Among hundreds of other questions, it considers: Under which conditions would machines become capable of creative writing? Given that computer evolution will exceed the pace of natural evolution a million-fold, what will such a state of affairs entail in terms of art, culture, social life, and even nonhuman rights? Drawing a map of impending literary, cultural, social, and technological revolutions, Peter Swirski boldly assumes that computers will leap from mere syntax-driven processing to semantically rich understanding. He argues that acknowledging biterature as a species of literature will involve adopting the same range of attitudes to computer authors (computhors) as to human ones and that it will be necessary to approach them as agents with internal states and creative intentions. Ranging from the metafiction of Stanislaw Lem to the "Turing test" (familiar to scientists working in Artificial Intelligence and the philosophers of mind) to the evolutionary trends of culture and machines, Swirski's scenarios lay the groundwork for a new area of study on the cusp of literary futurology, evolutionary cognition, and philosophy of the future.

45 review for From Literature to Biterature: Lem, Turing, Darwin, and Explorations in Computer Literature, Philosophy of Mind, and Cultural Evolution

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nick Turner

    A dull cynical pseudo-intellectual rant. Ignorance of well-known technical details suggests a failed literary critic. Obscure writing which omits necessary details. In the work, the author motions vaguely at haystacks but lacks the understanding or insight to locate a needle (if there even is one). Incoherent arguments switchback between topics randomly. The author expresses a bitter attitude to the success of other workers. There are unmotivated pictures of old computers. I don't recommend this A dull cynical pseudo-intellectual rant. Ignorance of well-known technical details suggests a failed literary critic. Obscure writing which omits necessary details. In the work, the author motions vaguely at haystacks but lacks the understanding or insight to locate a needle (if there even is one). Incoherent arguments switchback between topics randomly. The author expresses a bitter attitude to the success of other workers. There are unmotivated pictures of old computers. I don't recommend this work to anybody. If the author, as stated, literally deleted scientific references from the work, this is not the same as burning books - supporting evidence can still be sought (indeed there is a deep bibliography) and their absence avoids presenting an impenetrable thicket of binary micro-details to intrepid humanists. But concealing references to controversial sources, e.g. sociobiology, appears to be claiming false authority. Readers must trust in the author's good intentions. Writing about a specialised topic - the conjunction of artificial intelligence and literature - imposes a burden on the author to explain terms of art, words and phrases which aren't in standard dictionaries. In the review copy I received from the publisher, the writing falls short, too often assuming that readers are familiar with the author's back catalogue or obscure technical details. Informally, anything strange or nonsensical can be called "crazy". The writing indiscriminately employs "autistic" as a metaphor for crazy random text generation - as if the writings of autistic syndrome people were mindless and chaotic.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Savannah

    Interesting to see a video about this book on YouTube: the human-robot:-) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQUBL... Interesting to see a video about this book on YouTube: the human-robot:-) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQUBL...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ampersand Inc.

    Bizarre and challenging. All about the prospects for intelligent computers and their literary output.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kiril Valchev

    В "From Literature to Biterature" канадският учен, литературен критик и водещ специалист по творчеството на Ст. Лем, Питър Свирски, обрисува постигнатото до този момент (2013г.) в сферата на Изкуствения Интелект. Първите плахи стъпки, първите постигнати успехи и бъдещите предизвикателства. Голяма част от книгата е посветена на това, кога ще се появи първият истински "computhor" (машина, автор на литературно произведение; но не с параметри зададени отвън, а компютър с искрена, вътрешна потребност В "From Literature to Biterature" канадският учен, литературен критик и водещ специалист по творчеството на Ст. Лем, Питър Свирски, обрисува постигнатото до този момент (2013г.) в сферата на Изкуствения Интелект. Първите плахи стъпки, първите постигнати успехи и бъдещите предизвикателства. Голяма част от книгата е посветена на това, кога ще се появи първият истински "computhor" (машина, автор на литературно произведение; но не с параметри зададени отвън, а компютър с искрена, вътрешна потребност да изрази себе си; точно в стил Лем-ски :D ), дали изобщо ще го познаем и как това ще промени обществото ни.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mouse

    interesting book, what if a robot writes poetry? Just found a report about this book and writer, http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/issue-s... interesting book, what if a robot writes poetry? Just found a report about this book and writer, http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/issue-s...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Winston

    a robot could write poetry? Interesting, I love it

  7. 4 out of 5

    Excel

    A awesome book that inspiring my minds!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Qiang

    An eye opening book, compare to these days's hot topics AI, Professor Swirski gave us a different angle into this issue, very interesting! An eye opening book, compare to these days's hot topics AI, Professor Swirski gave us a different angle into this issue, very interesting!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ethan Chan

    I like to read this part:Philosophy of Mind,help me a lot.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Reading Biterature is like voyaging in the imaginative ocean where art, creativity, philosophy of mind, evolution and artificial intelligence combine to tell us how our future is gong to turn out and where we are in relation to that future today. It all starts with a simpe question: Could a computer write a novel? Could a computer understand a novel as we do? I won’t be a spoiler and won’t tell you what the answer is. But I want to share my top ten favorite lines from the book: —page 5 “The narra Reading Biterature is like voyaging in the imaginative ocean where art, creativity, philosophy of mind, evolution and artificial intelligence combine to tell us how our future is gong to turn out and where we are in relation to that future today. It all starts with a simpe question: Could a computer write a novel? Could a computer understand a novel as we do? I won’t be a spoiler and won’t tell you what the answer is. But I want to share my top ten favorite lines from the book: —page 5 “The narrative perspective on the ghost in the machine, it turns out, is not a speculative luxury but a pressing necessity. —page 24 "making computers understand human code is difficult, but making them manipulate is not. —page 38 "The principle is analogous to that employed by algorithms that could imitate human writers. Clever mathematical functions that hum at the heart of David Cope’s by-now famous program emi –Experiments in Musical Intelligence – begin by breaking down existing works into musical phrases. In the second phase, they synthesize novel compositions in the style of the original by using combinatorial variations on the input fortified with a musical grammar and syntax written by the programmer. —page 70 "One reason why we have valued art from times immemorial is because it laces thought with emotion, lasering both into every human psyche in ways that are phenomenologically irreducible to molecule-bymolecule descriptions. —page 75 "we may find ourselves wondering in the intellectual and artistic desert, awash with seas of culture we could not even recognize. —page 135 "The central aspect of ToM is our astonishing and astonishingly reliable ability to read people’s minds – or, more precisely, to read minds off people’s behavioural and linguistic cues. —page 141 Human minds are primed to engage with minds – so much so that a pair of outsized eyes, a toothpaste grin, and especially an apparent ability to converse can generate an impression of a mind-like pattern. —page 145 "Intelligence is two-way traffic with feedback – the world impacts the evolving system and the evolving system impacts the world as it strives to survive. —page 191 "The underlying logic is similar because all languages share the underlying bedrock of reality built in during the evolution of human brains and minds. —page 199 "Internet intelligence will first need to get smart enough to parse intentions – smart enough, in other words, to pass the Turing test. Knowing this, Google, which has already invested a fortune and a half in ai, is leading the research into making search engines understand human-level, intention-based communication.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adalheidis

    eye opening book

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jiali Xie

    A mind opening book

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bookmagic

  14. 5 out of 5

    Father

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dave Truman

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dante

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carsten Schneider

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Mantle

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wucaixia

    very good!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mariusz

  21. 5 out of 5

    Edd Simmons

  22. 4 out of 5

    Regina Connor

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ying Li

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Eagan

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maciek

  26. 4 out of 5

    Foxglove Zayuri

  27. 5 out of 5

    Christen

  28. 5 out of 5

    Paul Fidalgo

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jill

  30. 5 out of 5

    John Adkins

  31. 4 out of 5

    Molly

  32. 5 out of 5

    David Greenwood

  33. 4 out of 5

    Soonha

  34. 5 out of 5

    Emily Carlin

  35. 5 out of 5

    Ritch

  36. 5 out of 5

    phoenix

  37. 4 out of 5

    Steve Walker

  38. 5 out of 5

    Marko Mehner

  39. 4 out of 5

    Terry Kuny

  40. 4 out of 5

    C.J.

  41. 5 out of 5

    Laurel

  42. 4 out of 5

    Denis

  43. 5 out of 5

    Jesús Navarro

  44. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Sowery-Quinn

  45. 5 out of 5

    Zip

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