Andrew Leonard:
BOTS (Penguin Books, 1998)


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Don't be fooled by the subtitle ("the origin of new species"): this is merely a chronicle of autonomous software agents. Bots are software versions of mechanical robots. Just like hardware robots perform actions in the world of objects, bots perform actions in the world of information. Leonard wrote a history of this "species", starting with the "daemon" created by Fernando Corbato at the MIT in 1963 (the first piece of software that was performing a chore without human supervision).

Leonard's survey includes the usual suspects (early Artificial Intelligence programs that simulated the behavior of human beings), as well as interactive online computer games, and ends with the age of the Internet, a much more exciting cyberspace than ever existed.

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