The task of researching and preparing this book has been considerably aided by generous assistance from a variety of sources.

Our efforts in trying to trace an original authoritative source for the story involving René Descartes and Queen Christina of Sweden (Sect. 2.1) were greatly helped by invaluable feedback and suggestions from many experts in the field: John Cottingham, Stephen Gaukroger, Minsoo Kang, Jessica Riskin, Gary Hatfield, Justin E. H. Smith, Roger Ariew, Theo Verbeek, Erik-Jan Bos, Susanna Åkerman, Mike Wheeler, Robert Freitas, Martyn Amos and Moshe Sipper. We are extremely grateful to all of them.

Nancy Henry was very helpful in providing information and feedback as we explored the work of George Eliot, and we very much appreciate her assistance. Likewise, we are very grateful to Nora Eibisch for her guidance as we explored the work of Konrad Zuse.

We also thank Justin E. H. Smith for bringing Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle’s work to our attention (Sect. 2.1), Seth Bullock for highlighting Alfred Marshall’s contribution (Sect. 3.2), and Jeremy Pitt for pointing us to Robert Sheckley’s sci-fi work (Sect. 4.1.3).

Our research activities benefited greatly from the facilities and helpful staff at the National Library of Scotland, the Special Collections staff at the University of Edinburgh Library, Monash University Library, the online resources of the National Library of New Zealand, the online resources of the Wellcome Library in London, Kathryn Mouncey and Jane McGuinness at the British Library, Rosemary Clarkson at the Darwin Correspondence Project of the University of Cambridge and Dagmar Spies at the University Archives of the Technical University of Berlin.

Some small sections of Chaps. 3, 4 and 7 were previously published in a conference paper presented at the 2018 Conference on Artificial Life (Taylor & Dorin, 2018). That publication is copyright MIT Press, and the text is reproduced here in accordance with the publication agreement between MIT Press and the authors.

We gratefully acknowledge the use of Overleaf, the free online collaborative authoring tool, in preparing the draft of this work.

We also gratefully acknowledge the use of the Bookdown tool for the production of this HTML version of the book.


Taylor, T., & Dorin, A. (2018). Past visions of artificial futures: One hundred and fifty years under the spectre of evolving machines. Proceedings of the Artificial Life Conference 2018, 91–98.