How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection

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Macmillan, Jun 5, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 272 pages

The stranger-than-fiction story of the ingenious creation and loss of an artificially intelligent android of science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick

In late January 2006, a young robotocist on the way to Google headquarters lost an overnight bag on a flight somewhere between Dallas and Las Vegas. In it was a fully functional head of the android replica of Philip K. Dick, cult science-fiction writer and counterculture guru. It has never been recovered.

In a story that echoes some of the most paranoid fantasies of a Dick novel, readers get a fascinating inside look at the scientists and technology that made this amazing android possible. The author, who was a fellow researcher at the University of Memphis Institute of Intelligent Systems while the android was being built, introduces readers to the cutting-edge technology in robotics, artificial intelligence, and sculpture that came together in this remarkable machine and captured the imagination of scientists, artists, and science-fiction fans alike. And there are great stories about Dick himself—his inspired yet deeply pessimistic worldview, his bizarre lifestyle, and his enduring creative legacy. In the tradition of popular science classics like Packing for Mars and The Disappearing Spoon, How to Build an Android is entertaining and informative—popular science at its best.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lakanta - LibraryThing

An interesting look at the creation of a unique android, and how his head disappeared never to be found again. If you have an interest in robotics and Philip K. Dick, this book will probably be ... Read full review

How To Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection

User Review  - Book Verdict

In the early 2000s, an android replica of sf legend Philip K. Dick became a sensation in artificial intelligence circles. Its human face and exceptional programming, along with a database of Dick's ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
A Strange Machine
5
A Tale of Two Researchers
14
A Meeting of Minds
27
A Visit from Eva
41
Simple Robots
59
The Artist as Scientist
73
How to Build a Human Head
83
An Android in Memphis
134
First We Take Chicago
150
Talking in Memphis
178
A Carnival of Robots
189
Brain Malfunction
209
Einstein Reincarnated
229
Headless
246
Epilogue
264

Life Inside a Laptop
104
A California Bungalow 1974
122
Acknowledgments
269
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About the author (2012)

David F. Dufty is a senior research officer at the Australian Bureau of Statistics. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Memphis at the time the android was being developed and worked closely with the team of scientists who created it. He completed a psychology degree with honors at the University of Newcastle and has a PhD in psychology from Macquarie University.

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