The Big Project is to try and create true AI or consciousness on a computer. There are three possibilities: takes no position on which alternative will turn out to be correct. But one thing is certain: If we find out which, we will know a lot more about what it means to be intelligent and conscious. We will have made a big step towards answering one of the most basic philosophical questions: Who are we?

There are three possible pathways towards creation of true AI or consciousness on a computer (or network of computers): The first path is being attempted by Ben Goertzel, the second is championed by Ray Kurzweil, and the third is the path chosen by We figure that our project will have to run for a very long time before it comes even close to answering the big questions. In the first phase, it will be nothing but a testbed for the development of alife-based AI for use in computer games, first for role playing games, then, as we make the environment more complex, for the next generation of real-time-strategy games.

Our project is based on two paradigms: The environment our evolving brains interact with is initially simple, but will be made more complex step by step until eventually it will become a good model of a 3D-virtual world. If the brains we evolve are downloaded into suitable robot bodies, they should then be able to interact with our natural world.

Our first version of a virtual world will consists of DungeonMaker-generated dungeons and labyrinths, which are inhabited by MOBs (mobile objects) which do their own thing, but will cooperate to hunt players who kill their brethren and steal their treasure. The game will feature pluggable brains written in a scripting language, so that users of the program can easily try out their own MOB-AI. If you have thoughts that might help this project along, please post them on the list. Once the first version of the program is up, we will also look for coders and artists. If you might be interested, you should monitor one of our mailing lists and step forward when a task comes up that you are interested in.