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Book: Growing up with Lucy

zondag 22 oktober 2006 21:48

In this book Steve Grand (the designer of the computer game Creatures) describes the three years he spent creating a robot named Lucy. His approach is that of mimicking the human nervous system. The book is written as a dairy and is filled with Steve's thoughts about the structures the human brain uses to process information. The emphasis lies strongly on visual image processing, and he gives no information at all on modeling the cognitive mental capacities, because the robot simply is not equipped with these yet.

The first part of the book is great fun to read: Steve describes the steps used to build the robot and explains some of it's theoretical background. The second handles mainly with processing visual data and is filled with Steve's theories on the workings of the mind. Only interesting if you are trying to do the same thing he is. Otherwise, it is somewhat tedious.

Steve is somewhat boring if he positions himself opposite to professional scientists. He depicts them as narrow-minded conservative people, when in fact they might have much in common. He is at his greatest when he explains how the brain uses the same principles in apparently very different processes. The book is funny, thought-provoking, and gives you the real feel of what it is like to create a life-form bit by bit.

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