Jerry Trumbule and I speak with Tom Barbalet who is originally from Australia and as a teenager became very interested in the concept of artificial life, which refers to the notion of creating a whole microecology of virtual beings within the computer. It’s a form of computer simulation and Tom is among the pioneers to experiment with this sort of thing. My understanding of artificial life is that the designer/programmer sets up a set of rules or evolutionary principles in a computer-generated world and then sees what consequences evolve. Ideally, as in the real world, more complex virtual organisms may develop as a result of competition for resources and interbreeding and unexpected things may happen. Tom’s Noble Ape simulation was among the first and has garnered a worldwide following and put him in touch with many of the leading figures in the field. In addition to being a regular Shrink Rap Radio listener, Tom also is a prolific blogger and podcaster in his own right. Here are some of the links mentioned in this episode: www.nobleape.com and www.biota.org, www.biota.org/podcast/, Talking Robots: Podcast on AI and Intelligent Robotics.
(Psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.)