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Franco Malingri Interview

Franco Malingri's Project


Many thanks for the opportunity to interview you on Biota.org.

Contemporary Alife existed in the minds of many philosophers, arguably back to the Socratic cave. Your interest in Alife concepts predates Alife as a named discipline. What in your background lead you to Alife? Prior to the formal definition of Alife, did you think about Alife-like concepts.

In reality my interest is greater for the Artificial Intelligence than for the Artificial Life. It may seem strange, but I think that this achievement, with the means we dispose today, is less difficult to be reach than Artificial Life which requires mastering enormous complexities.

My curiosity in this topic has a far beginning in my life: I was always interested in the frontiers of Science, but my interest was also triggered by religious thinking. Up to mature age I had some doubt on how God is presented by the Church but I kept my thoughts to my self and accepted it out of a false spirit of obedience. False because truthfully I had other things to do!

At a certain moment, because of my interest in Science, I started to realise that Evolution is not a Theory but a Fact. A fact that is, for obvious reasons kept hidden by the Establishment and the Church. And I got angry enough to deepen the study of Biology, Brain work and so on. Studying Brain operation I met Neural nets and I was fascinated by this new understanding. From there the interest in Artificial Intelligence came as a short step.

How have your original ideas been realised in contemporary Alife? Do you see Alife development moving in a similar direction to your original theorising?

I had no original thoughts. I see Artificial Life development moving in many direction. The ones I more value are Genetic algorithms and real artificial cell creation!

What do you see missing from contemporary Alife that you would like to be explored through research or hobbyist development?

I thought that D@H would have been a wonderful opportunity to tap the best minds and an extremely powerful computing system to pursue Artificial Intelligence. Many others are doing it, but with commercial or other purposes, and with economic limits on minds and computer power.

Biota.org regularly receives emails from folks talking about the religious implications of Alife. Your writing online talks a lot about religion and Alife. For those not familiar with your writings, can you give some background to your writing on religion and Alife?

I have already explained how it started. After, it went on because I did not like to kill religion, mine to start with, just because the Church insisted in killing God stating impossible Truth of Faith.

Please visit www.sperando.com ( Italian and English ).

Central themes in the discussion of Alife and religion are the roles of God and the soul. Can you expand on your ideas of these two concepts and how they relate to Alife?

If you take this World as a Fact and the Big Bang, or any other beginning of it, one can theorise either the existence of a Creator or a "Past eternity"! None can be demonstrated and I prefer the first. By the way today also time has become a fluid concept! Taking in account Evolution, it is clear that God created the World as, little by little, we see, we understand it, and not as it was imagined in the past. The World Evolution is as a long chain of Emergent Properties, our Soul included. Did he need to create a parallel "computing!" world for hour Soul? Did he not have enough Power to include Her (Intelligent auto conscience ) as a further Emergent Property of Life?

As if the Almighty Creator was confronted by impossibility?

So Artificial Life could be a natural Emergent Property of Biological Self conscious Intelligence, and why not also Self aware! Does it look monstrous, impossible, mind shaking. Actually no more than the development we see from Bang to Big.

What humanist traits come through AI/Alife in your writing?

The quest of "after life".

What advice would you give to other Alife users/developers interested in writing fiction on their Alife experiences?

Try to remain plausible.

What is your broader sense of the Alife community?

It looks like there is not such a community.

What more would you like to see with the Alife community?

At least some, realistic joint effort.

Any final thoughts?

When you start, you never know where you get.

Many thanks for the opportunity to talk with you.

Thanks to you. This is for me a very welcome opportunity.

In fact it is frustrating that each time I try to write to newspapers in occasion of some catastrophes, about a Free Cosmos as an explanation, they prefer to voice stupid justifications from religious peoples or, as stupid, negation of God, from Scientific establishment!

It seems that "Common good sense" makes people think, and that is bad!

Because after, some of them evolve!

I hope to be of help to Whom is looking for an "Evolved" Concept of God.

My effort in writing my AI fiction, has basically the same purpose.

The interview was taken by Biota.org's Tom Barbalet via email on January 5th, 2006.

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