The Computer Game "Spore" As It Relates To "Emergence"
I don't know if anyone has heard about this computer game, but it's being developed by Will Wright, the guy who made the original Sim City games, as well as Sim Tower, Sim Ant, etc.
He's been working on it for the past seven or eight years, and I mention it only because it seems to mirror a number of the issues that this class explores. It basically maps out the entire course of life on Earth—well, not on Earth but on some unnamed planet. The player starts out as micro-organism and evolves into a creature. Then the player controls a tribe, then a city, then a civilization, then a planet. I think eventually the player ends up as some god-like entity.
The game addresses questions like "How do organisms move from unconscious to conscious?" and it's also interesting because in the game's final stage, the player is essentially an architect in the same sense that the creator of "The Game of Life" is a creator: both have no overarching plan and instead can control only a few simple parameters that give rise to uncontrolled randomness.
I'm not sure how well I'm explaining this; here are some links that can probably do a better job:
New Yorker profile of Will Wright that talks mentions Spore a fair amount:http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/061106fa_fact
The game's official site:www.spore.com