Are Machines Living Things?

A Dialog Between

Kevin Kelly and Steve Talbott

In NetFuture #132 I wrote about recent experiments with rats. Scientists implanted electrodes in the brains of these animals and were then able to steer them at will by sending electrical signals. The rats could even be made to navigate areas they would otherwise avoid.

I juxtaposed this news item with another about efforts to make robots more human-like and "companionable". In response to my comments Kevin Kelly wrote the following brief note, which then kicked off another round of our ongoing dialogue. For the previous installment, see NetFuture #130. SLT

KEVIN KELLY: You wrote,

Why in the world would we want to engage in the ditzy exercise of pretending a robot is a living being, when we're also engaged in the dead-earnest exercise of converting living beings into robots? But I guess the real meaning of both exercises is the same: to train ourselves in losing awareness of any distinction between robots and living beings.

That's the negative way of saying something extremely positive: "to train ourselves in gaining awareness of how robots and living beings are alike." See Out of Control for a whole book on how machines and organic beings are two examples of the same phenomenon. This is not just philosophical. In about 100 years or less there won't be much difference between certain engineered life and certain life-like machines. Instead of binary distinctions the range of beings will be one continuum, as your posts make clear is already happening. To clarify, there will always be many beings joyfully inhabiting the extreme ends of the continuum; wild, organic, "natural" life at one end, and cold, steely, dumb mechanical machines at the other. But more and more of the world will be comprised of the 'tweenings: life that has been given some of the control of machines, and machines that have been given some of the freedom of life.

STEVE TALBOTT: Yes, one can legitimately investigate what is machine-like in the human being. But when for several hundred years a culture has progressively lost its ability to see what is non-machinelike in the human being; when technology veils from view the natural world so that almost all our activity is mediated in one way or another by machines; when "official" science proscribes research that in any way transcends a mechanistic model, making such research unfundable; and when all this commitment to mechanism leads to a continual flirting with environmental disaster for the entire living earth — well then, I don't understand why your further promotion of the limiting, machine-human analogy should be seen as the positive stance, while my suggestion that we recover a fuller understanding of the human being and of nature is dismissed as the negative stance.

Savoring the satisfactions of the inventor, you talk about the hybrids we can make, but say nothing about the creatures caught in the cross-fire of our making. What about the plight of the remote-controlled rat? And what about the human being who is subjected to the same values and practices so clearly evidenced in our treatment of the rat?

KK: Regarding your first paragraph: I can't put my finger on it, but I found this the most persuasive argument you've made yet in my hearing. This may work for me because you implicitly acknowledge the machine view — which is really the point of my responses. I will quibble with certain phrases, but I can let them pass. What I hear — and correct me if I am wrong — is a plea to restore a balance in our views; to resurrect the non-machine view of humans, of science, of our surroundings, etc, so that this well-seasoned, wise, and powerful view might stand as high in our esteem as the mechanical view, which has ascended with the rise of technology. Where I may part with you is if you claim the organic is a superior view.

I am not sure who speaks for rats other than rats themselves. If I was a rat I might enjoy having an implant for the sheer novelty of it, just as I am certain many humans will take implants themselves so they can experience something different, or to extend their sense of self. Of course no human knows what a rat thinks or feels, but with implants we actually may know one day. Rats may want to have nothing to do with us and be left alone, or they may want to have everything to do with us and want a chance to be something different. Or both.

Certain humans will benefit tremendously by the experiments we are now conducting in rats, just as many humans benefit tremendously by the experiments we conduct on humans. It is not difficult to imagine science discovering a way to enable someone crippled to walk using the kind of results initially found by implanting electrodes in the brains of rats. There is some benefit to rathood itself in this research, too, although those benefits don't apply to all rats.

ST: I sympathize with your interest in preserving multiple views of a thing. That is exactly my own concern. The problem with your "mechanical view", in fact, is that historically it represents the refusal to accept other, fuller views. Those who say "the organism is a machine" have said it precisely in order to deny that the organism is anything more than a machine. Therefore they have had to use twisted, inadequate concepts so as to reduce the organism to their preconceptions. How do you borrow these twisted concepts without also borrowing their untruth?

Let me give an example. It was all too natural for proponents of the mechanical view to imagine the organism as compounded of reflexes, and to search for clear, simple reflexes as paradigm cases. The underlying idea is that "the organism represents a bundle of isolable mechanisms that are constant in structure and that respond, in a constant way, to events in the environment (stimuli) .... The aim of research, according to this conception, is to dissect the behavior of the organism in order to discover those 'part processes' that can be considered as governed by mechanistic laws and as unambiguous, elementary reactions to definite stimuli".

Those are the words of the eminent neurologist, Kurt Goldstein, and it was Goldstein whose classic work on The Organism demolished the reflex theory. Goldstein showed that slight changes in the intensity of a stimulus can often reverse a reflex; a reflex in one part of a body can be altered by the position of other parts; an organism's exposure to certain chemicals can reverse a reflex; other chemicals can completely change the nature of a reflex; fatigue can have the same effect; consciously trying to repress a reflex can accentuate it (try it with your "knee-jerk" reflex); and so on without end.

Needless to say, Goldstein's work was largely ignored by a science bent on mechanistic reductions. (The recent re-issue of The Organism with an introduction by Oliver Sacks is an encouraging development.) But Goldstein's point nevertheless stands: the machine view of the organism, which assumes that parts can be isolated from the whole and satisfactorily elucidated in that way, continually falsifies our understanding.

So, yes: I certainly do want to say that an organic view of animals and humans is superior to a mechanistic view — overwhelmingly superior. It is superior because it avoids the radical untruth of the mechanistic view. If there is no such thing as a "reflex mechanism", it is because there is no such thing as a mechanical organism. The most we can say is that, by doing our best to isolate certain parts of the organism from the rest, and by viewing only restricted aspects of the part's functioning, and in general by ignoring everything that makes the organism an organism, we can arrive at extremely rough approximations to various mechanical elements. These approximations may indeed be instructive for some purposes, as long as we continually remind ourselves of their limitations. But you will be frustrated if you try to find any such reminders in the conventional literature.

Finally, I am disturbed by your casual unconcern for that remote- controlled rat. It's not that I think one can formulate any absolute rules about what is permissible in such situations. But the only way for us to gain a basis for decision-making is to approach the rat as best we can on its own ground and enter into respectful "conversation" with it. (See "Ecological Conversation" in NF #127.) As things are, I have this half-comical image of a technician sitting at his keyboard and enjoying the exhilarations of a video game as the frenetic rodent he is controlling compulsively dashes across the floor this way and that — with you on the sidelines blithely commenting, "Maybe the rat is enjoying it". This is not the conversation I have in mind.

I suggest the following as a possible starting point for any assessment of the experiment's meaning for the rat. Every organism strives to express its own wholeness; its health entails being more or less at one with itself so that what is going on in each part harmonizes with and gives distinctive voice to what is going on throughout the whole. But the effect of the robo-rat experiment is to set the rat at war with itself — to forcibly create, in violation of the unity of its being, a set of response mechanisms sufficiently isolated from the whole as to allow effective manipulation from outside.

At first blush, this manipulative, arbitrary, and disruptive invasion seems hard to reconcile with any respectful stance toward the rat as a being with its own meaning and its own coherent life to live. But, of course, this problem is completely hidden from anyone assuming the machine view, because a machine just is a collection of isolable mechanisms without any particular meaning or wholeness of their own.

KK: "Every organism strives to express its own wholeness". I find myself disagreeing with this, your most fundamental assumption. I don't disagree with it because it is mystical, which it most certainly is. (If it is not, I don't know what a mystical statement would be.) I disagree with it because I find it meaningless, or I should more politely say, because I can't find meaning in it, that is I don't understand what you are trying to say by saying it. It would be far more accurate to say "Every organism strives to survive." That would be true. When I think of a hydra squirming in a pond, that is what it is striving to do. I would even go on to agree with this statement: "Every organism strives to maintain its own wholeness," as in, keeping its systems intact. I'm just not sure what it means for a lichen to "express" its own wholeness. When you say "its own" do you mean of this particular piece of lichen, or of this particular kind of lichen?

I am beginning to suspect that "wholeness" to you is a vital force, that mysterious X factor that living things supposedly have which non-living things don't. I would be willing to bet that you don't believe that a machine can have "wholeness of its own" or certainly that if it did, that it could not ever "express its own wholeness." Wholeness is your code word for the differential separating life from non-life. Is this correct?

ST: I certainly do take wholeness — or, rather, a particular sort of relation between part and whole — as offering one way to distinguish living things from non-living. This does not, on my view, have anything to do with a vital force or mysticism.

But may I delay a rather lengthy explanation so as not to let drop an earlier remark of yours? You said that the electronically manipulated rat might lead us to the kind of knowledge enabling the lame to walk. This, of course, is the standard sort of advertisement for prospective technologies. You can always propose some such good. I don't believe it's possible to conceive any technology, however horrendous, for which we cannot imagine a good use. Clearly, such imaginings by themselves are not enough to guide us through the thickets of technological choice we face today. There is no criterion here for rejecting any particular choice.

I don't see how to assess the rat experiments except by beginning with the relationship between the experimenters and the rats themselves. If this relationship has a moral dimension, then that must be our starting point. But perhaps you are of the view that there is no moral dimension here, because the rat is a machine? If so, I would like to know it. If, on the other hand, we both grant the moral aspect, then in making our judgments we need to keep in mind how dangerous it is to commit a moral abuse in one place in order to gain a benefit in another.

We cannot adequately justify the rat experiments either by professing ignorance of the rat's being (ignorance would only counsel us not to act unnecessarily) or by imagining future benefits. The imagining may be helpful, but we also have to enter deeply and sensitively into our transactions with the rat itself and ask, "What are the moral qualities of this exchange between two beings?"

I'm not suggesting that the answer will be simple. I'm only pointing out that the question isn't even being asked. And it doesn't seem to me to be present in your responses. Am I missing something? Or is this absence required by the "machine view"?

KK: You ask, "What are the moral qualities of this exchange between two beings?" It is a good question. But I'd like you to clarify the question, because as you are using the term, I suspect that "moral" has a circular definition.

Does the following question make any sense?:

What are the moral qualities of an exchange between two machines?

Or is "moral", like "wholeness", only some mysterious quality that can occur in what you would call living beings?

So what do you mean by moral dimension?

ST: It seems enough for present purposes to note that the world is moral so far as it poses questions of right and wrong for us. Sure, this would involve me in circularity, inasmuch as it's probably impossible to define "right" and "wrong" without importing some idea of morality. But this is the kind of circularity that every fundamental notion leads to. (Try defining "truth".) The fact is that almost everyone has at least some sense of morality, or right and wrong, and that's what I'm appealing to; it's as much an elementary "given" for us as the brute fact of the perceptual world is a given. And, no, I don't think machines confront moral issues — because nothing is "given" to them in this sense; they are not conscious.

But leave my views aside for the moment. I would like to know how you, according to your own definitions, view the moral qualities of the exchange between those scientists and their rats.

KK: Our moral responsibilities toward other beings scale to the complexity of their being, and are in proportion to their own abilities to be moral. We have a different relationship and obligation to an e. coli germ than we have to a gorilla, and different again to a robot or a tuft of grass, because these beings all have different capacities of action, communication, contemplation and awareness, and because they have different relations to us. We use rats for research because, as mammals, they share some of our cognition, but we also use them because they are among the simplest beings that share anything significant with us. We owe the particular individual rats we use as little suffering as we can manage, and the maximum comfort we can afford. We owe the rat race the opportunity to evolve.

ST: I would answer rather differently, but — fair enough. Picking up on "opportunity to evolve": I don't see how this can have much meaning without some sense for the kind of being the rat is. That is, our understanding of where rats might reasonably go, evolutionarily, depends on our understanding of who they are. And this leads right back into our dispute over the nature of the organism. So I see no alternative to my addressing at length your basic concern that I'm founding everything on some vague, inaccessible sphere of mystery from which I magically produce concepts like "wholeness", "organism", and "morality" on demand. So be it.

Taking strong issue with my statement that "every organism strives to express its own wholeness", you prefer the alternative, "every organism strives to survive". But what does your formulation say, beyond "every organism strives to keep on striving"? It's an empty statement. Yes, it's true: any organism that got into the habit of gnawing on its own liver or dancing into the lair of its predators is not likely to be here today. To some degree or another all traits have to pass the negative test of not leading the organism to destruction.

But this tells us nothing about the positive character of the organism. Conventional biology avoids this problem simply by not looking at the character of the organism. Such looking requires a qualitative and non-mechanical approach and, whether we like it or not, if this approach presents us with a coherent organism — an organism in which, physiologically, morphologically, and behaviorally, every part positively "speaks" in the unified and distinctive voice of that species — well, then, the standard biological explanations based on random mutation and natural selection are hopelessly inadequate. You can no more get from those explanations to the qualitative unity of the organism than you can get from the distinctive style of Van Gogh to that of Picasso through a random and mechanical process of pixel substitution. You can, of course, deny that organisms have any such unitary character, but this is hardly seemly when you have refused to look at the organism with the qualitative eye of the artist.

(NF #97 contained an example of a "whole-organism study" of the sort that aims to get at this qualitative unity. The piece, written by Craig Holdrege, was entitled, "What Does It Mean to Be a Sloth?".)

All of which leads to your question: Is "wholeness" my code word for whatever separates life from non-life? I wouldn't say "code word"; "wholeness" is the proper name for an idea that can be reasonably explicated. The particular view of wholeness I will articulate traces back to Kant, and was worked over by Goethe, Coleridge, and Rudolf Steiner. Here is how I would summarize certain insights stemming from this tradition:

Think first of human speech, or a text. In reading the initial words of a sentence or paragraph, we find ourselves immediately grasping for the thought of the whole. ("What is this about, and where is it going?") As we proceed, and as the meaning of the whole comes into ever clearer focus, we discover this whole working into and transforming the individual words we read. It is well known that you cannot make sense of any profound text "from the bottom up", simply by importing the dictionary definitions of the words and adding them together. These words have to become the bearers of a governing idea or intention that now shines through them. And, by virtue of its participation in this intention, each new word in turn shines through all the other words, subtly shifting their meanings. So you don't have neatly given, determinate parts (words) entering into purely external relationships. The part itself only comes into existence — that is, only becomes this particular part, or word — through the expressive agency of an antecedent whole (the meaning of the passage). Until then, the word has no adequate definition.

This points us toward the kind of dynamic relation between part and whole characteristic of organisms. A key point is that an organic whole manifests itself within each of the parts; they only become what they are by virtue of the activity of an antecedent whole. Of course, this begs for illustration from an actual organism. But for the moment let me explain further by contrasting this organic principle of wholeness with the mechanistic one.

The organizing idea of the machine — its functional wholeness — is imposed from without through the arrangement of parts whose nature remains static. These parts are not transformed through their participation in the whole. We arrange them with the overall idea in mind, and the resulting external relationships between the given, well- defined parts are sufficient to specify the machine. That is, everything we need to know in order to understand the determinate functioning of the machine is available to us in the evident relations we have given to the parts.

So the machine does have a wholeness of its own peculiar sort, but we are the ones who have "striven to express it". Further, its parts remain precisely what they are even without reference to the functional idea of the machine as a whole; remove a part from the machine, and its external relations will be lost, but the part itself will remain essentially just what it was.

In Coleridge's pithy summary: what is "organized" from without is a mechanism; what is "mechanized" from within is an organism. And NetFuture reader Peter Kindlmann, a professor of engineering design at Yale University (whom I would not want to saddle with all my own views) was, I think, getting at a crucial aspect of the matter when he described how the engineer partitions "a larger whole into functional modules, each described by an input/output 'cause and effect' behavior". There you see the machine conceived (correctly) as a collection of parts (modules) with clearly defined external relations. I would add that every machine, "modularly designed" or not, must, at some level, be analyzable in exactly those terms.

But, Kindlmann continues, "nature does not 'design' this way". Instead, it offers

a total fusion of function and form that we are right to admire aspiringly, but can seldom take as a direct lesson [for engineering]. A blade of grass is a totally integrated system of structure, fluid transport and chemical reactor.

This "total fusion of function and form" signifies that there is no way to partition the organism into cleanly separated modules whose purely external relationships tell the entire functional story of the organism. The parts interpenetrate each other, and do so in a manner whereby the whole is revealed as active within each part.

Is any of this mystical or meaningless, as you suggest? Or is it just that the mechanical narrowing of one's vision leads to a premature dismissal of those aspects of the world invisible to a mechanical mindset?

One other thought. No whole can be wholly material. If it were, it would be just another part among the others, or the mere sum or aggregate of all the parts. If those (such as complexity theorists) who speak of the whole as being more than the sum of the parts really meant what they say, they would grant that, once you have removed all the parts, the whole remains; what was more than the parts remains. But few of them will say this, so powerful are the reigning mechanical habits of thought.

KK: I think we are getting someplace. It's clearer where we disagree.

I have no argument at all with concepts like this: "A key point is that an organic whole manifests itself within each of the parts; they only become what they are by virtue of the activity of an antecedent whole".

The emergence of meaning in a text, or of health in an organism presents the similar vision in me. An organism does not reside in the parts but in the totality which transcends the part — the whole. Yes, this is how it is. Our real split, Steve, is your insistence that this kind of wholism can't happen in human-created systems, but only in natural ones. I questioned your definition of wholism not because I don't agree with it or believe in it, but only because it is evident to me that it occurs in machines as well, while you deny that, which makes me wonder what you mean by the word. Yet everything you say about it makes it clear the same thing happens in artificial systems.

Your example of a machine is very primeval — an "arrangement of parts whose nature remains static." Sure that's how primitive machines are, but that is not to say, how the web is, or how law is, or how even a complex factory is. In several chapters in Out of Control I tried to demonstrate the many ways in which machines 1) could and are made of dynamic parts that 2) self-assemble, and 3) can even evolve and therefore are beyond not only human engineering but human understanding. Therefore your statement that "everything we need to know in order to understand the determinate functioning of the machine is available to us in the evident relations we have given to the parts" is absolutely and fundamentally wrong. It is not just theoretically wrong, but practically wrong. We already write software (a machine if there ever was one) that nobody understands, that nobody designed, and that nobody has cataloged the parts of. More importantly, it's clear that this trajectory in machines will continue so that machines (it's almost a refrain) take on yet another aspect that we thought only living organisms had.

Here is another example: "Remove a part from the machine, and its external relations will be lost, but the part itself will remain essentially just what it was." Also not true. There are very complex machines which can route around removal of parts, just as organic organisms do. Again, you reference simple primitive machines that do indeed share only a little with life. But my arguments concern the increasingly complex machines that share much with life.

The drift of your arguments remind me of the Roman notion of "order". The Romans and most classical cultures of antiquity were obsessed with order. There was a natural order to things and to people, which everyone accepted. This was not about rank, but about classifications. It was unnatural for a servant to lecture a nobleman, just as it would be unnatural for a mouse to try to be a bird. Most of this classical sense of order disappeared from our modern world except in the area of race, where it remained far too long. There was a time not too long ago when otherwise nice people could say in all sincerity that it was simply unnatural for a white and black to marry. The two were separate categories, and even if it was possible for them to marry, it was against the order of things for them to do so.

I am arguing against separatism in beings. The classic view is that there are separate classes of things: those born and those made, those of life and those of machines. Supporters of this separatism offer all kinds of rational arguments why these two categories are very distinct, why they should be treated differently, and why if they might be brought together (as say in genetic engineering) this is horrible and unnatural.

The arguments for why living beings are different from created beings range from, "living beings are trying to express their wholeness while created beings don't" to "parts of an organism interpenetrate each other, and do so in a manner whereby the whole is revealed as active within each part, while in a machine they do not." These reasons can seem as far fetched to me as some of the reasoning of old as to why white people were categorically different from blacks.

This separation bias against machines goes even further. It is clear that even as machines become more biological-like, as they take on more of the characteristics of living things while they become as complex as living things, their natural abilities are denied. Even in the face of the obvious intelligence and morality of a black person, a white slave owner could deny the black had a human intelligence and consciousness because everyone knew that a negro could not — by definition — have those qualities. In the same way the stirrings of intelligence and purpose in machines are denied because humans know that — by definition — a gadget can't have consciousness or morality. And it is true, that by those definitions, as seen above, it can't.

There are many elevated arguments against racism, but one mechanical one will do here. It is clear there are very pale humans and very dark ones. Black and white skins exist. But most people of the world are brown. They have some shade of pigmentation. There is no pure white, just as there is no pure black. Black/white racism falls apart when brown fills the world.

There are some very organic beings full of life, like humans. And there are some very inert machines like a hammer. But our world is filling with many brownish things half-way between. We know of viruses and prions, organic entities born, but not quite living. And now we have complex systems made, but not quite dead. We have embryonic AI. We have artificial evolution. We'll have a world of dry engineered life and soft machines. What we call life is a continuum that extends into other elements beside carbon. What we call intelligence extends into other realms beside tissue. What we call morality extends into other beings beside humans.

We can stop this only by playing with the definitions. Indeed that is what has been happening. There is an ad-hoc common sense definition of intelligence, or life. When some contraption or other meets that definition, then we say, well obviously our definition is incomplete because obviously what this contraption is doing is not thinking or living. Obviously blacks or machines can't be intelligent or moral. These qualities — by definition — don't apply to them. So we keep shifting definitions.

A more moral way would be to extend the definition. In the long term — say in another couple hundred years — I believe that humans (whatever they are by then) will look back to now and marvel at our insistence in keeping machines and organisms separate. Not because the convergence will be seen by them as inevitable, but because morally our separatism will be repugnant. Why did we think only humans could be conscious and moral, and why would we not want to bring consciousness and morality to as many machines as we could?

It is the obvious fact that machines and living things can co- mingle that has brought out the separatists. The prospect of cyborgs stirs up fears of mutant descendents, and this is when we begin to hear the strong sermons on why organic beings are fundamentally different from human-created ones. They can no longer argue that there is a fundamental difference, because hybrids abound, only that it is unnatural and against the natural order to mingle the two. We should expect to hear more like this as this continuum of being between life and machines becomes yet more evident.

Your last point:

If those (such as complexity theorists) who speak of the whole as being more than the sum of the parts really meant what they say, they would grant that, once you have removed all the parts, the whole remains; what was more than the parts remains. But few of them will say this, so powerful are the reigning mechanical habits of thought.

I will say it. There is something mysterious and immaterial about the whole. The important point is that this wholeness is shared by the world of the made as well as the world of the born.

ST: I am perplexed to hear you so vigorously associating my stance with racism and with empty, rationalizing argument by definition — not to mention continually "shifting" definition. I'm not sure what relation any of this has to my own offerings, and will therefore leave it alone, except to say this: my entire line of thought is intended as part of an effort to grasp how things are, not how they must be according to some preconceived definition. I have attempted to elucidate what we can see with our senses and our understanding.

As for your direct response to my argument: I am fully aware of all the buzz about dynamic assemblages that "self-organize" and "evolve". This kind of talk was, in fact, uppermost in my mind when I described the mechanistic relation of part and whole, because these trendy assemblages perfectly fit the bill. The cellular automata of the "artificial life" enthusiasts, the complex adaptive systems of John Holland, and the autocatalytic sets of Stuart Kauffman are, to my mind, the quintessential mechanisms. They bring to a kind of perfection what was inherent in the notion of a material mechanism from the very beginning. Far from overriding my distinction, they are the best illustrations of it.

One does not move beyond the mere aggregation of fixed, externally relating parts by making the parts very small. The individual cells of a cellular automaton are the perfect little mechanisms. Yes, as is common with machines of all sorts, when you assemble these elements you can get them to change their configuration and do various things, but these rearrangements and activities (including the often magically conceived "self-organizing" activities) proceed in full accord with the distinctions I have drawn.

Certainly all such devices embody a great deal of intelligence — and ever more so. Machines always have. There is no limit to the intelligence we can invest in them. This, I suspect, is what leads you to pass far too quickly over my point, which is that intelligence, in the form of the device's organizing idea, is imposed from without — a fact that manifests itself in a distinctive sort of relationship between whole and part. For example, the organizing idea is "external" to those individual cells of the automaton — they are not formed and enlivened by it from within, but are just put into varying external relationships. There is always such a rock-bottom lifelessness in the machine, which betrays itself, not merely at the bottom, but at any level of description you choose. The organism, on the other hand, is enlivened from within, which means, among other things: all the way down.

Unfortunately, we are already over-length for this current installment of our dialogue, so I will have to leave your remarks inadequately answered for now. And I'm not quite clear how to proceed, given our continuing failure to achieve direct engagement. (Virtually every point in your last response appears to me badly misdirected, just as my comments appear to you.) Perhaps I will need to write a full-length article or two, and then invite you to respond. Or ... ?

� 2002 by The Nature Institute.

Steve Talbott is the editor of the online newsletter NetFuture and author of The Future Does Not Compute: Transcending the Machines in Our Midst. Current and past issues of NetFuture are available on the Web:
Email: [email protected]

Kevin Kelly is currently Editor-At-Large for Wired magazine, which he helped found in 1993, as well as a former editor and publisher of the Whole Earth Review, a journal of unorthodox technical news. His books include four versions of the Whole Earth Catalog, Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Economic and Social Systems, and New Rules for the New Economy. More of Kevin's writings are available at:
Email: [email protected]


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