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Part I

Artificial Beings: Meaning and History

I n 1950, Alan Turing opened his seminal paper that defined the Turing test with the provocative sentence “I propose to consider the question ‘Can machines think?’ ” More than a half century later, I propose a new question: Can machines live? It is a fantastic question and its answers can come only in parts—some con- nected to technological realities and some indeed connected to fan- tasy, the virtual history of imaginary artificial creatures, where we seek our first set of answers.

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