One of the candidates I contacted was Jeff Orkin, refered to me by David Edery. Jeff is credited as a 'Senior software engineer, AI' on F.E.A.R and spoke about the very impressive AI of that title at GDC (the material from his talk can be downloaded here).
Jeff recently contacted me to try and help spread the word for a research project he is currently doing called 'The Restaurant'. Ripped from his site:
I love this idea. I love the 'google image match' feel to it (when you connect, you are randomly paired with a partner and each give goals that help teach the AI); I love the '2.0' element of it, both in terms of collaborative tuning of the AI and collaborative play testing. Finally I love the communal credit idea -- making a meta-game out of the game's credits since only one player will be credited as the 'Lead Designer'. So smart.
The Restaurant Game is a research project at the MIT Media Lab that will algorithmically combine the gameplay experiences of thousands of players to create a new game. In a few months, we will apply machine learning algorithms to data collected through the multiplayer Restaurant Game, and produce a new single-player game that we will enter into the 2008 Independent Games
Festival. Everyone who plays The Restaurant Game will be credited as a Game
Designer. It's never been easier to earn Game Designer credentials!