I'm Ken Stanley, artificial intelligence professor who breeds artificial brains that control robots and video game agents, and inventor of the NEAT algorithm – AMA!
I work in AI and machine learning, in particular in an area called neuroevolution that focuses on evolving artificial neural networks. I also work on video games with innovative applications of AI, and have a new book with coauthor Joel Lehman on why you can sometimes only find really great things when you're not explicitly looking for them. AMA! on these or other topics - in more detail:
Neuroevolution algorithms: With my excellent collaborators over the years I've introduced NEAT (NeuroEvolution of Augmenting Topologies), HyperNEAT (Hypercube-based NEAT), novelty search, and compositional pattern-producing networks (CPPNs). You may have seen NEAT in the recent viral video by SethBling of NEAT learning to play Super Mario.
AI/ML for video games: I've also directed the creation of several AI/ML-driven games and toys including NERO, Galactic Arms Race, Picbreeder, and Petalz. We even recently created a musical accompaniment generator called Maestrogenesis.
Our recent work on novelty search, which explores the implications of searching without explicit objectives, led to a broad theory of how great innovation usually results from serendipity and unpredictable connections from unrelated advances -- and not from explicit top-down objectives (the kind of objectives that are increasingly forceful in our society). In fact, pursuing grand objectives may often cause problems both in algorithms and in real life. This theory is summarized in our recent book, Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned: The Myth of the Objective. You can also hear a radio interview about the book. And my coauthor Joel Lehman (joelbot2000) will be at hand to field questions on the book as well.
UPDATE 5:30pm EST: I'm taking a break for today, but will try to answer some more questions over the next couple days. Thank you very much for all the great questions, I've enjoyed it a lot!
UPDATE end of Monday: I answered a few more and will check again tomorrow. Going to rest for the night. Thanks again for all your questions.
PROOF for Ken: http://www.cs.ucf.edu/~kstanley/reddit_proof15.jpg
PROOF for Joel: http://joellehman.com/reddit_proof_joel.jpg