The Artificial Life of Startrek
The Star Trek series has inspired not only armchair fans, but also the researchers who are trying to better the human race, developing the devices of the future, and struggling to conquer space travel. The Star Trek series was also the inspiration for this book, which examines the artificial intelligences portrayed in the shows. The question we'll be asking throughout this book is, "How do we get from where we are now to the point where we are able to create truly exceptional artificial beings such as Holodeck characters, Lieutenant Commander Data, and the Emergency Medical Hologram?"
In order to answer this, we'll examine where we are right now and extrapolate where we are heading. Throughout the book a passion for Star Trek is integrated with academic research from the AI, A-Life, and Robotics domains, which are presented in an easy to understand way-- bypassing the technobabble and mind-blowing mathematics. The book examines the characteristics and capabilities of Star Trek's artificial life forms and compares them with current technologies in an attempt to predict if we'll ever create such advanced beings.
It is written to provide both the serious Trekker and the occasional voyeur with a handbook of the current techniques and devices available in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, and artificial life. It examines the development of artificial life forms such as Data and the EMH from the bottom up, including their physical creation programming, and metaphysical aspects such as personality and emotions to determine if such beings might some day be a reality. If you have ever wanted to know what a positronic brain is or how to write a personality subroutine then this is the book for you!