Generative Bonsai

iBonsai creates nice little trees using some kind of generative algorithm right on your iPhone. It is a cool little app that is definitely fun to play around with.

Sadly, its author, PhD student Tyler Streeter, does not offer a lot of insight into the actual mechanisms used, but it might be related to one of his previous projects.

Tylers company Brain Power Labs has the ambitious goal of creating advanced and human-like AI and claims that the necessary tools are available today. Personally I am slightly less optimistic, but since I am no expert I decided to consult Elbot, the winner of the Loebner Prize Turing Test 2008:

Me: “Will we ever see convincing examples of artificial intelligence?”
Elbot: “Here’s another question: What exactly do you do for a living?”
Me: “Well, can’t we discuss my question first? ”
Elbot: “Are you as happy about your involvement with questioning reality as I am?”
Me: “Come on, AI hasn’t improved since ELIZA…”
Elbot: “People often asking me about Weizenbaum’s Eliza. I find her to be rather strange. She seems only to talk to people who have problems. ”

Still room for improvement, I guess. Well, hopefully we will see a few more generative apps from Brain Power Labs, before the Singularity takes over.

Update: Just discovered this picture of a japanese tree made in Structure Synth: Sakura Synthesis by fpsurgeon.

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