Life as Algorithm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter uncovers the complex negotiations for authority in various representations about futures of life which have been advanced by different branches of the sciences, and have culminated in the emerging concept of life as algorithm. It charts the historical shifts in expertise and representations of life, from naturalists, to mathematical mod­ellers, and specialists in computation, and argues that physicists, game theorists, and economists now take a leading role in explaining and projecting futures of life. The chap­ter identifies Richard Dawkins and Max Tegmark at the forefront of the concept of life as algorithm: the first inspired by game theory as a means to study evolution; the second proposing that a materialist basis of life could place humans and artificial intelligence on an equal footing. Through close reading of their respective texts, the chapter demon­strates that both thinkers consider life as an algorithm programmed to achieve success in survival and reproduction
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFutures : Oxford Twenty-First Century Approaches to Literature
EditorsSandra Kemp, Jenny Andersson
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication dateFeb 2021
ISBN (Print)9780198806820
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Fields of Science

  • 5171 Political Science

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