RE: using game programming to develop animal-equivalent agi

From: pdugan (
Date: Thu Mar 16 2006 - 07:47:35 MST

Finally someone on this list is talking sense! Yes, if you combined the Havok
physics engine with Spore, and maybe a evolutionary algorithm like the memetic
algorithm (I believe Spore's evolutionary algorithms neglect the
hueristic-driven local search component), it's possible to have AI to a
limited capacity. I can't say with certianty whether this AI would be
integrated and well-rounded enough to be called "general", but I can say with
a great deal of faith that AGI and interactive entertianment applications will
converge, possibly by the middle of the next decade.

Patrick Dugan

>===== Original Message From Kevin Osborne <> =====
>the list has been a little quiet for a couple of days, so I thought
>I'd gag up something I've been mulling over for a while...
>I'm thinking it might be possible to develop evolving in-game
>lifeforms of trivial general intelligence. and I think that the code
>is not only possible today, but that it's already here.
>let me explain my basis in contrast to the kurzweil/moravec notion of
>replacing existing brain elements with inorganic equivalents to
>produce a thinking being - with the contrast being that I see the
>moravec approach as being top-down, while I believe there is a
>distinct possibility of a bottom-up path-to-intelligence.
>two more elements are needed for this position: evolution and reverse
>engineering. of course the validity of a moravec-mind is needed as
>well, but let's just make than an assumption for this case that can
>(and I'm sure has) be discussed at length in other threads.
>start with an immersive 3D gameworld with a simulation engine running
>newtonian physics and genetic biology. there must be hundreds of
>running codebases today that could be merged to provide this.
>then, you reverse engineer the properties of an amoeba. you define
>it's sequenced genome in logic, and you assign these properties and
>abilities to in-game programmed objects, and then you let them loose
>in a newtonian phyics based simworld with elements, seasons, sunlight
>and resources. Remember that much of existing science, and physics
>especially, is just reverse engineering; gravity existed long before
>we named it so, as did carbon. We now have a very, very complete
>understanding of the sub-cosmic and super-quantum realms; more than
>enough to replicate organic existence with incredible realism.
>now we know all the answers to how this world should behave, and how
>this ameoba should develop, as it's already happened in our past; we
>have a perfect history of it all preserved for comparison. if the
>world starts to diverge markedly, you can tweak the ratios that
>determine random changes via scarcity of resources, overpopulation,
>climate change etc that drive evolutionary development. you can
>program the basic imperatives of an amoeba; feed, grow, compete,
>survive, divide. yes, the simulation is more complex than my basic
>examples. but I think rigorous apllication of attention to detail
>could overcome any inconsistencies or incompleteness.
>if you build on this, again and again, in painstaking detail, you
>should eventually get to something substantial. how many data points
>are required to map the complete genetic evolutionary development from
>an ameoba to a fieldmouse? alot? sure. an infinite amount? no. we have
>those records, preserved for posterity in thin layers of earth; we can
>trace every step, and then provide a mirror environment to reproduce
>it. and if we can get from ameoba-like to mouse-like satisfactorily,
>can we then progress our bottom-up approach from mouse-like to, well,
>dog-like? monkey-like? man-like? you tell me.
>if this is all sounding too outlandish or complex to simulate at the
>technical level, there's a another 80's tech staple thats coming out
>if it's own winter to help out: Procedural Generation (PG). This is
>how the gameworld terrains of 80's titles generated their in-game
>enivronments when gig's of animations on a dvd weren't an option. This
>procedural approach says you don't have to create a world by hand; you
>just set up the rules, press go, and let the world generate itself.
>This is also the technique used by demoscene developers; check out
>what 64k(!) of procedural generation can do here:
>Wil Wright is the gaming legend is currently championing this, and
>Spore is the game due out this year which is currently knocking my
>socks off.
>the first third of this video is a must-watch:
>and a writeup of the game (and PG) is here:
>Wright isn't just using PG for textures or tiles; he's also using it
>for biomechanics and evolutionary characteristics like swimming,
>walking, hunting, killing, eating and mating. None of the in-game
>creatures in Spore are modelled prior to installing the game. every
>single one evolves using an array of possible physical development
>paths to come to life as completely unique organisms that execute
>motile ability in a completely (un)natural way. If you haven't watch
>the video linked above, I'd recommend doing so now.
>Now the interesting part to all this is that when playing Spore,
>you'll be competing against AI-generated evolving orgranisms; and I
>think if the simulation is realistic enough, and the properties of the
>organisms detailed enough, then we'll be starting to enter the
>god-mode lobby of the SA you lot have been fascinated with lately.
>It seems more and more that if we use sufficently comprehensive narrow
>AI to generate
>simulations of our in-historic-light-cone world that we can create
>glimpes of real intelligence in our simulations.
>There are growing examples of in-game AI generating AGI-like eruptions
>of higher-intelligence-like behaviour. One the recent (elder scrolls
>iv?) mmorpg games had testers walk into a in-game-evolved
>previously-unvisited villiage where none of the townspeople would let
>them in. turns out the villiage guards had gotten drunk and gone
>hunting and gotten lost, and then bandits had raided the villiage.
>each narrow-AI indivdiual guard|bandit|townsperson had combined to
>generate an effect more like that which could be envisioned by a
>higher intellect.
>there's also this older example from 2001:
>"This ability to discriminate has already produced some real surprises
>for testers and creators alike during development. In one situation,
>there was a creature that kept losing a stone-throwing game to another
>creature. To get revenge, the first creature heated a rock, planted it
>in the pile of stones to be thrown and then fell on the floor laughing
>when its rival burned its hands. All this happened without
>intervention from the player."
>The next-gen consoles with their Cell processors are supposedly ideal
>for the 'Procedural Syntheisis' needed to implement Procedural
>Generation - does this mean the next glimmer of basic AGI will come
>from the living room instead of the lab?

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