How AI in Video Games is furthering our knowledge of programming AIs in general.

AI had humble beginnings. In 1957, Arthur Samuel successfully played a match of checkers with an artificial opponent. [1] This came with some restrictions however, such as his opponent being the size of the room he was playing in. We’ve come a long way since that almost prehistoric computing period and a new age of AI has dawned on us in video games such as Bioshock Infinite‘s Elizabeth being an almost new standard of AI on her own.

Elizabeth [2] is a very interesting example of AI. She isn’t just a follow along companion or just a recruit you can hire like in The Elder’s Scrolls : Skyrim or Fallout, Elizabeth adapts to the player she is with. She can follow or lead while being reactive to the protagonist character and still proactive in pushing players through the story arcs. The team in charge of programming her faced many challenges in non-combat situations. Will having her function to merely follow the player they said it opened “a comedy of errors” while in play. They knew for this character they needed to step up the AI from previous video games.

They wanted Elizabeth to feel like a real person next to you during the campaign. Never too close to you to be “creepy” but also never straying too far as to become impersonal with the main character. It was a tricky blend but through long hours programming they were able to create what is now a critically acclaimed as the best AI in video game history! It is a far cry from the AI of Watson in Sherlock Holmes : Crimes & Punishments. Who would often feel like he was stalking the player with his obsessive teleporting. (Gif Attached)

At its core, Artificial Intelligence is imbuing interaction between people and machines. Video games already blend this line with player input being the key factor of progressing the story. But what is AI? This is an interesting question Graft, K. [3] posed to multiple game AI developers on Twitter. Some responses were quite interesting such as “Teaching the game to make decisions that provide context for the player’s own decisions”. Now I’m not one to spell the “end is nigh” for teachers out there but that does sound awfully similar to how teachers in school show pupils how to do tasks and homework. Perhaps one day we could see AI implemented into the real world through similar means? Though that is probably as far away from us as we are from that checker game in 1957!

Currently, AI is still a developing format with limited research. Sadly, The video game industry takes almost no note of cutting edge AI research which is truly a shame in my eyes. As if we could combined or albeit limited research of AI with the expertise of developers who knows what we could create. However, the challenge of learning with less data known is well known and almost inspiring to computer scientists these days [4] so it may be possible one day soon we will have Terminators and Personal AI Assistants helping us out in our regular routines!

Thank you all for reading, I hope this article on how AIs are currently evolving was suitably entertaining!

References:

[1] – Togelius, J. Why Video Games are essential for inventing Artificial Intelligence. http://togelius.blogspot.ie/2016/01/why-video-games-are-essential-for.html

[2] – Corriea, A.R. The long road to building AI for Bioshock Infinite’s Elizabeth. http://www.polygon.com/2014/3/18/5522450/the-long-road-to-perfecting-ai-for-bioshock-infinites-elizabeth

[3] – Graft, K. When Artificial Intelligence in Games becomes… Artificially intelligent. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/253974/When_artificial_intelligence_in_video_games_becomesartificially_intelligent.php

[4] – Knight, W. To get truly smart, AI might need to play more video games. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601009/to-get-truly-smart-ai-might-need-to-play-more-video-games/

How AI in Video Games is furthering our knowledge of programming AIs in general.

Gaming in Education and Holograms

Last year, I discussed Gaming in Education and the positive effects it could enable students between more diverse interesting classes to less likely chance of burning out. While looking into this I discovered Hologram Videos and how some teachers have found ways to incorporate them into their classes (albeit, it is a very limited practice as of right now).

While limited, it is possible to create a hologram with your Smartphone right now if you wanted to try it! I’ll leave a link to the creation of the apparatus you’ll need to make to do so here as well as a video made for holograms.

and once you have this created, place it on the video below for results. (This requires viewing the video below on a Smartphone)

Now, how are these relevant to Gaming in Education? Well, the videos are exceptionally interactive, they’re more or less 3D models of figures, places and such. One day perhaps that Butterfly or Jellyfish could be intractable in a Biography class, allowing “dissection” of creatures without all the grisly bits in between.

We’ve seen great success come from Holograms before from concerts with Tupac from beyond the grave to vocaloids like Hatsune Miku in Japan (Essentially animated musicians coming to life on stage!). But I want to look at the possibility of such a thing coming to the class or boardroom one day. Instead of Skype calls, you could almost be sitting next to someone in the same room while in reality there in America. Would it be possible?

Well, it is sort of a Reality already. The iCandy glass and other Virtual Reality augmentation devices can already perform such a task over skype giving the illusion of real perspectives near the person. That is merely an illusion however, can we take it a step further?

The answer is yes, Cisco have been developing something known as TelePresence Live Holographic Calls and there is even a video circulating YouTube showing off the strides they’ve made (they even had a conference in front of a live audience). So the technology is definitely there! It is just sad to say it is not cost-effective as of yet and the “interactive” nature of this equipment is in its primitive stages as of yet. One day we may see “touch-screens” similar to our smartphones incorporate holograms we can play with on our phones (imagine Pokemon GO where you could pet your virtual friend!) but that is sadly still a futuristic idea but not complete technological jargon! Our technical know-how just may evolve to a stage where holograms are common place everywhere between meetings and in the classroom to give students from primary school to college “hands-on” experience without the actual need for having to actually dirty your hands.

Here is a link to Cisco’s Presentation, it is very interesting and I recommend you give it a watch if you have time! (Or at least the first 2 minutes to see the holograms come on stage). This is quite primitive (it was from 5 years ago) and I believe they were using a projection screen which is technology that can be dated up to 15 years ago but with correct innovation it does show just how far this technology could go.

Thank you for reading!

 

 

Gaming in Education and Holograms