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Applied Research

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Applied Research was the division of Cyberlife tasked with developing concrete commercial and government aplications of artificial life. It was officially formed in 1998, although it probably existed well before then, albeit not under that name (see Cyberlife Technical Note 2). Its main development platform was called Origin.

Two projects were described in the article Agents from Albia: one was to develop virtual pilots as opponents for humans training in simulators, and another was to simulate bank customers (including drives like 'consult a financial advisor') to test bank layouts.

It seems likely that the division did not have significant success, although it is known that both the Ministry of Defense and NCR both funded pilot projects with Origin. This was probably due to a number of factors:

  • Novelty: Cyberlife was doing something that hadn't really been done before, and which wasn't well understood, so nobody knew what to make of it or how to use it
  • Lack of experience with the target market: Millennium/Cyberlife was a games company, not a think-tank, and so probably knew little of how to sell "solutions" to big business . . . let alone what solutions to create
  • Lack of applications: it was hard enough trying to build Origin itself, yet the platform was useless on its own - finding a concrete product proved a tough challenge
  • Lack of time: investors were looking for quick returns, while at the same time the business they were looking to attract tended to go to well-established companies

Applied Research was shut down at the end of 1999 (along with the Cyberlife Institute) when Cyberlife decided to focus on its Creature Labs entertainment products.