February 24, 2004

AI Iago

by Andrew Stern · , 12:01 am

On the heels of Noah and Michael’s posts from yesterday… At first it seemed like yet another sexed-up article headline: two upcoming AI-heavy interactive entertainment products described in a Popular Science blurb titled “Terror Games”.

Peek behind the graphics of two new games [The Sims 2 and Peter Molyneux's Fable] and you’ll find the same artificial intelligence that’s at work in Pentagon-sponsored war simulations.

But the blurb offered no further explanation. Huh?

Then I clicked on a related link and found the real article, which attempts to find a convergence between The Sims 2 and DoD agent-based modeling for predicting the actions of terrorists, including projects such as “Virtual Pakistan”, “GI Agent” and the $100M “OneSAF”.

The team at Moves [Naval Postgraduate School, who produced America's Army] is trying to model the behavior and thinking of terrorists by creating a series of computer characters to populate a model code-named Iago, after Shakespeare’s arch villain. … [They are] optimistic that before long [they] will produce a squad of intelligent, malevolent agents who will be useful in the running of complex terrorist scenarios.

The article even has Will Wright speculating on the Iraqi resistance.

There seems to be a trend here…

8 Responses to “AI Iago”


  1. scott Says:

    Indeed, the trend towards DOD-sponsored Shakespeare-based terrorism simulation is a frightening one. Before you know it, we’ll have special forces in the field of battle communicating exclusively in couplets, hunting down targets with code-names like Edgar and Caliban, arguing over whether it’s Rosencrantz or Guildenstern’s turn to take the point on recon.

  2. andrew Says:

    I think I’ll start referring to Janet Murray’s book with a more efficient shorthand, Hamlet on Deck

  3. B. Rickman Says:

    I just pre-ordered my copy of The Sims 2: Dogs of War.

  4. Mike Says:

    “… the same artificial intelligence that’s at work in Pentagon-sponsored war simulations.”

    Obviously, there’s only one kind of AI. I’d expect that sort of spin from the NYT, but not Pop Sci. Sounds more like a writer reaching for an attention-getting intro.

    Great post, Scott. It could also come to autonomous battle-robots suddenly sitting down and thinking about the Meaning of Life – sort of like the intelligent bomb in “Dark Star”.

  5. ian wilson Says:

    I found this a pretty interesting article for a couple of reasons; primarily that it floats around the fact, while not stating it outright, that the foundation of many diverse fields (i.e. entertainment and defense) of software is basically the same, namely simulation. This is particularly interesting to me as I worked on a predecessor to OneSAF for STRICOM and the DoD. The technology I developed there was entirely interchangeable with for example entertainment. The technology I am currently working, emotional simulation, they also talk about in this article and of course this can also be applied to any number of types of simulations.

    The second interesting point was the idea of OneSAF itself. If any of you read this post about industry and academia working together , these thoughts about having a common platform to work on were based on OneSAF and HLA (High Level Architecture). The idea being to have an open common platform into which you can plug in various modules for behavior or various types (i.e. a “Director” module to direct a script).

    The defense simulation community has a wealth of this kind of technology that could easily [relative of course] be used for the kinds of simulations the readers here are developing and interestingly [potentially lucratively] visa versa.

    I think perhaps the title for this thread was a little more confusing than the article as “Iago” was merely an amusing sideline to the general thrust. Perhaps a better title would have been to use the STRICOM motto, “All but war is simulation”.

  6. ian wilson Says:

    I just went over the the web site of the Naval Postgraduate School where they built the IAGO system and do a good deal of other Defense Simulation work (they built the “Americas Army game I believe) and found this research direction they are currently working on:

    “Story line engines – content production and simulation prototyping. Technologies for autonomous, real-time story direction and interaction.”

    Unfortunately this had no links but maybe someone could find our more.

  7. ian wilson Says:

    Sorry, forgot to add the link to the MOVES Institute (Naval Postgraduate School)

  8. Water Cooler Games Says:
    Between Ares and the Muses
    Eimi d’ego therapôn men enualioio anaktos kai museôn, eraton doron epistamenos (I am first the servant of Lord Ares and also of the Muses, familiar with their lovely gift)       — Archilochus, 12c BC Andrew Stern poi…

Powered by WordPress