AI News, Teaching computers to play Doom is a blind alley for AI – here’s an alternative

Teaching computers to play Doom is a blind alley for AI – here’s an alternative

Games have long been used as testbeds and benchmarks for artificial intelligence, and there has been no shortage of achievements in recent months.

With the arrival of the latest techniques in AI and machine learning, attention is now shifting to visually detailed computer games – including the 3D shooter Doom, various 2D Atari games such as Pong and Space Invaders, and the real-time strategy game StarCraft.

Banana skins Getting computers to determine which actions even exist in a given context presents conceptual and practical challenges which games researchers have barely attempted to resolve so far.

In highlighting these problems, McCarthy said:“Our ultimate objective is to make programs that learn from their experience as effectively as humans do.” Until computers can tackle problems without any predetermined description of possible actions, this objective can’t be achieved.

Players were told about their environment by messages on the screen: They had to respond with simple instructions, usually in the form of a verb or a verb plus a noun – “look”, “take box” and so on.

More sophisticated behaviours on part of the computer would involve exploring the environment, defining goals, making goal-oriented action choices and solving the various intellectual challenges typically required to progress.

How well modern AI methods of the kind promoted by tech giants like IBM, Google, Facebook or Microsoft would fare in these text adventures is an open question – as is how much specialisthuman knowledge they would require for each new scenario.

Competitors submit entries in advance, and can use the AI technology of their choice to build programs that can play these games by making sense of a text description and outputting appropriate text commands in return.

Jerry Swan is asenior research fellow,Hendrik Baieris aresearch associate for artificial intelligence and data analytics, andTimothy Atkinson is adoctoral researcher at theUniversity of York.This article was first published in The Conversation (theconversation.com) The Independent's bitcoin group on Facebook is the best place to follow the latest discussions and developments in cryptocurrency.

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