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US Army To Use MMOs For Turing Tests

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the your-tax-dollars-at-play dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 55

Massively points out an article about new research projects for the US Army. One of the projects will evidently involve testing their AI capabilities in popular MMOs, including World of Warcraft and EVE Online. "They're working on creating 'photorealistic looking and acting human beings' that can think on their own, have emotions and talk in local slang. 'I actually interact with virtual humans in terms of asking them questions and they're responding,' Parmentola said. To test out the computer generated humans' 'humanity,' Parmentola and his researchers want to unleash some of their cyber Soldiers into so-called 'massively multi-player online games' such as World of Warcraft or Eve Online — games frequented by thousands of super-competitive human players in teams of virtual characters fighting battles that can last for days. 'We want to use the massively multi-player online game as an experimental laboratory to see if they're good enough to convince humans that they're actually human,' he said."

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55 comments

eh , well what else do you call them? (2, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686667)

into so-called 'massively multi-player online games' such as World of Warcraft or Eve Online

I read that as being "sarcastic", what else does the author of this so called, 'news post' call an MMO?

Re:eh , well what else do you call them? (2, Informative)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687631)

I think you misread it. The meaning in that context was, "I know many of our readers may not have heard of them, but these kinds of games are big now, and they're called ..."

That is, it wants to acknowledge it's bringing in a new term it doesn't expect you to already know. Same as when they'd say, "he accesses the computer through a so-called 'mouse'" in 1990 :-P

Re:eh , well what else do you call them? (1)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#25691523)

Yeah, really...it doesn't get much more Massively Multiplayer than EVE. Biggest population in a single game world. (Not counting Second Life, because it's just different in too many ways).

Also, wouldn't you think they would just get mistaken for gold farmers? Hehehe.

Eheh, turing test eh? (3, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686677)

So, how long will it be before the bots develop an Elizia test? Setup, two interactions, one a WoW player, the other a .bat file. See if you can spot the difference!

Come on, I know AI is hard, but do you really need to lower the bar that much you have to dig a hole?

Who needs artificial intelligence? (3, Funny)

osir (1402743) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686887)

I do not think the goal is artificial intelligence, i think, from the description of the research, its artificial stupidity. First it will fool WoW players, then it will move on up the ladder to tests subjects like mice with cancerous brain tumors, piles of cardboard, and eventually, cocker spaniels.

"military intelligence" oxymoron still works... (2, Funny)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686685)

if you want to test AI's I suggest you use adventure and puzzle games (for mature audiences, not for youth).

MMO's are the most automated of games. They don't involve thought, they involve grinding, grinding, and more grinding.

If they're going to use this as a metric for AI's, I think they should just buy up glider and connect its attacks to real weapons.

Re:"military intelligence" oxymoron still works... (2, Interesting)

sargx (1402731) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686773)

I think you missed the title of this post, let me remind you: "US Army To Use MMOs For Turing Tests." It's a turing test, not a "ken we farm Illidan test." Which is why an MMO is perfect for it.

Re:"military intelligence" oxymoron still works... (3, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686907)

MMO's are the most automated of games. They don't involve thought, they involve grinding, grinding, and more grinding.

So what you're saying is, MMO's are the perfect way to train virtual soldier AI.

Re:"military intelligence" oxymoron still works... (2, Insightful)

wasmoke (1055116) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689169)

Why would you say that? The reason our troops are so effective is because they can think on their feet. If a platoon commander is killed in action, the next guy down the chain of command will immediately step up and he knows what the mission is and how to get it done. It seems to me like you're thinking of the old time battles where the two opposing factions would line up on either side of a line and keep shooting at each other until one side was all dead.

Although, I guess I am assuming you live in the U.S. I'd be interested to know how your military works, if you're from another country.

Re:"military intelligence" oxymoron still works... (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689757)

The reason our troops are so effective is because they can think on their feet.

I guess that's why they're developing artificial intelligence ;).

Besides, your army already uses robots: cruise missiles, automated defence systems, etc. "Virtual soldier" is a logical extension of this, and I can think of many uses for them, most of which revolve around the fact that they're expendable. Or wouldn't you rather send a lookalike before you if you suspect an ambush ?

Having lots of artificial soldiers smart enough to obey simple commands but not smart enough to care or get anyone else to care whether they live or die is a boon for commanders, because it helps keep non-artificial soldiers out of the most dangerous spots. This might also help reduce civilian casualties, since such cheap constructs can be instructed to risk on the side of getting gruesomely killed if they are unsure whether they should fire or not. You don't get the whole "is this guy shooting at me an enemy fighter or a father of three protecting his family" -scenario; you can simply send ten bots to disarm him without hurting him, and if a few get shot to pieces, so what ? A human soldier would have a rather nasty choice before him there.

Re:"military intelligence" oxymoron still works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25696219)

"It seems to me like you're thinking of the old time battles where the two opposing factions would line up on either side of a line and keep shooting at each other until one side was all dead."

Nowadays if the commander is killed by an IED his replacement calls for help or hits the next IED? Yep, that's effective.

Re:"military intelligence" oxymoron still works... (1)

Zephiris (788562) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687197)

Isn't using AI to play in WoW and EVE a violation of the terms of service, besides? I'd like to see a general human-like AI conquer Portal, Fallout 3, Armed Assault, and two rounds of Mount & Blade together in a single week. Then perhaps we would let it read Slashdot! Snrk.

Re:"military intelligence" oxymoron still works... (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687695)

I was kinda thinking that...

Re:"military intelligence" oxymoron still works... (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#25691663)

I somehow don't think Blizzard is going to argue with the folks with nukes.

At least, not until the zergling rush from Mexico is ready.

Code upgrade. (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#25723051)

Then perhaps we would let it read Slashdot! Snrk.

Well that would require a slightly higher line count on its core logic. Emulating a 12 year old tard won't cut it. You'll have to increase the requirement to slightly oder CS-major college boy.

10 KILL (PORING)
20 PRINT "Lolz!!!11!!oneone"
30 GOTO 10

suddenly have to be increased to

10 PRINT "Fr1st ps0t !!!"
15 PRINT "M$ Windoze is teh sucksorz !!!"
20 PRINT "Natalie Portman in Soviet Russia !!!11!!oneone"
30 GOTO 10

See ? More lines of code required.

Re:"military intelligence" oxymoron still works... (2, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687665)

Actually for AI it's the exact opposite. Puzzle games are extremely easy for a computer due to the speed at which it can calculate all possible outcomes. Trying to convince people to put together a raid in an MMO requires a minimal amount of social skills. If all you're doing is grinding then you haven't really played much.

Re:"military intelligence" oxymoron still works... (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693055)

Actually for AI it's the exact opposite. Puzzle games are extremely easy for a computer due to the speed at which it can calculate all possible outcomes. Trying to convince people to put together a raid in an MMO requires a minimal amount of social skills. If all you're doing is grinding then you haven't really played much.

I am not referring to the normal "puzzle" games, i'm talking about open ended adventure style puzzle games, where the rules and points of interaction are not even known.

Re:"military intelligence" oxymoron still works... (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25691777)

They're not looking for a macro-based grinding system. They're looking for something that can interact with real people (aside from avoiding them, which is all the macro-ratters and macro-miners and EVE will do) and, more importantly, coordinate with them. These AIs don't need to fool people into thinking they are human so much as they need to prove themselves at least as useful as a human.

Most of the combat in EVE, at least, is highly multi-player, with individuals both acting as part of a whole and taking their own actions as needed (much like real-world soldiers). There's also the matter of sharing information - everything from giving intel on enemy forces to delivering orders (for that matter, receiving and understanding those communications isn't trivial either).

Actually, communication is an interesting one - it's often too time-critical for typing (which requires taking your hand off the mouse) so is done by voice. Can their AI handle its end of a fight coordinated over Ventrilo?

Interesting idea... (2, Insightful)

celendis (943833) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686689)

... until Blizzard cans their account for using a bot.

Re:Interesting idea... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25686723)

Blizzard won't ban a US army research project because I imagine it would be rather difficult to develop WoW2 from Gitmo..

Re:Interesting idea... (2, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686737)

... until Blizzard cans their account for using a bot.

Actually, I think they only ban it if it actually plays the game.

On my server there's an AI operating in general: ironforge.

It was there months ago, and when I logged on it was still there.

Some schmo is obviously doing some academic research on online populations, or flame wars. The thing just talks to nobody in normal chat, spewing flamebait like "democrats suck" or "I don't kill babies, thank you very much".

I pointed it out to a bunch of people once, and they reported it.. it's still there.

It manages to bait people into the endless hole that is politics on the internet at least once every evening I happen to be on.

They just declassified the logs (4, Funny)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686695)

'I actually interact with virtual humans in terms of asking them questions and they're responding,' Parmentola said

US ARMY - "VIRTUAL ONLINE INTERNET GAME USING ETHERNET CONNECTIONS AND PROGRAMMING" - ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE LOG

PARMENTOLA0WNZ: heh. are u a robot?
SEPHIROTH112: WHAT THE HELL IS THIS TP ME BACK TO BARRENS YOUR NOT A GM
PARMENTOLA0WNZ: my god, men. weve done it.

LOG ENDS

Re:They just declassified the logs (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25686879)

You missed out the line "anal [dirge]", repeated a coupla hundred times.

BTM (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25686709)

Somedays I wonder if humans playing WoW could pass the Turing Test let alone bots ...

"HEAL PLX!" "LF3M GOT TANK BRD!" etc etc...

Re:BTM (2, Funny)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687635)

The USArmy has become so good and turning humans into bots, they figured they may try turning bots into humans.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25686715)

Can they be banned for "botting"?

Intelligence ? (4, Insightful)

Davemania (580154) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686727)

You don't need intelligence let alone artificial intelligence to interact with people in those MMO games

good idea wrong game (2, Interesting)

mcfatboy93 (1363705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686763)

i think if the military is looking for a game to use it would be halo. its exachly what the military wants exept that the n00b totaly PWNing them is a in-active sloth. they also might be able to use COD4. i think these games would better suit the military than WOW.

Re:good idea wrong game (2, Insightful)

Umrick (151871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686909)

While you don't need intelligence to play MMOs, they are the best test for a program designed to interact with other people due to the range of styles of communications.

Everything from "OMG!!!1!u sux" to "Prithee, but have ye a sledgehammer?"

It's a question of volume in EVE or WoW. Note they aren't trying to "build a better gold farming bot" but to use it for a Turing test type situation.

Its not combat related research... (2, Insightful)

osir (1402743) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686937)

I doubt its at all what the military wants. The reasearch has nothing to do with fps's, or combat, or video games at all, its to do with human-human interaction where the focus is not completely on language. Computers can deal with spacial information a lot easier than irregular linguistic information. I think the goal is to have them 'fool' 'people' (yes, both in quotes), without tackling the hard problem of imitating spoken language.

Windfall Profits for Blizzard (2, Funny)

Edward Kmett (123105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686817)

In other news, Blizzard is looking forward to record profits in the coming quarters from windfall lawsuits against the government willfully violating their terms of service.

In other other news, after reaching an agreement with the US government, the Chinese government seeks to reach similar terms to investigate Turing-complete gold farmers pointing out that gold farming is an intrinsically human activity and that a bot that could accomplish the same ends would be a great boon to society.

The bots respond to questions (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25686841)

Tester: sup bot?
Bot: Are you very interested in sup bot?
Tester: what?
Bot: I see. And how does that make you feel?

EVE-Online (2, Interesting)

tibman (623933) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686923)

I'll be honest, if i can get several million dollars worth of AI research as my gang mate, i don't care. I'd even let the thing join my corp if it could fit and fly a decent pvp ship. But the learning curve is hard for a person, i doubt a machine could do it without lots of specifics scripted in. But it's fun to speculate if it would be a highsec griefer, lowsec pirate, carebear, 0.0 nano-nut, or sit in an asteroid belt and mine all day?

Re:EVE-Online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687419)

They'd have to violate the license to do this, although that's no big deal since CCP never bans ISK farmers anyway.

From the sound of that article they plan to just have their bots talk to people and try to convince them they are real, not actually fight anything. If that's what they're doing, the idiots ought to be sending them to IRC, not to video games.

If they are going to try to fight with people, they'll get their asses handed to them. EVE isn't the sort of game where you have an advantage even if you're a computer AI. This AI will get a beat down from any half decent PVPer and blobbed by everybody else if it shows up in EVE trying to start trouble.

Re:EVE-Online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687689)

Oh great, more macro miners :|

the Army is staffed by *people*... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687053)

...just like civilians (only with markedly fewer pacifists) who would rather play MMOs all day than be in warzones.

I've come up with silly excuses in work before involving needing to test my product's behaviour undewr server load by running alongside an FPS etc and this is just the natural extension when the alternative is far more dire and the budget orders of magnitude greater. To the guy who wrote the convincing research proposal, bravo! The only safe government is an idle government.

This Has Already Been Perfected (4, Funny)

MrLizard (95131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687105)

http://archive.gamespy.com/fargo/august03/autorpg/

Re:This Has Already Been Perfected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25688831)

Dude?

Re:This Has Already Been Perfected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25691931)

Here, have a melon.

I don't think Blizzard will go for this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687723)

How exactly are they going to pull this off? Botting is against the TOS for most MMOs, so I'm pretty sure a bot, even if it chats along with its team-mates, is still going to be considered "cheating" according to the company that runs the MMO.

I may corpsecamp those avatars of yours (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687775)

i dont want militaristic stuff being conducted in my mmo. no tolerance there. i may corpsecamp those avatars you employ to research to the extent of being unable to interact with the game. and im sure i wont be alone in this. take your sh#t elsewhere.

for any idiots who may err 'on the side of wisdom', i have done 1.5 years of military service, and i very well know what that sh#t is, whereas im sure most of you who read this post dont. we dont need that in our games. period.

Cute (0)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687797)

I've actually accused a couple of people in MMOs of being AIs. I wonder if they were Army tardbots...

First thing the military said to the new President (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688295)

Mr. President, we must not allow a goldfarmer gap!

Turing Test (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688791)

If the virtual human logs off WoW and starts searching the Interweb for p0rn, it passes.

TOC'd! (1)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 5 years ago | (#25689081)

I really really think that they'll run into the "no bots" issues presented in many games' terms. Of course, they could make a MMO for their AI bots to play on and not ever bother people playing real games.

Terms of Service (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25690281)

I'm pretty sure that these MMOs would ban anyone from using a bot to play, right? It will be interesting to see if their AI can not raise flag with the cheater/fraud departments.

Bots endorsed on mmo's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25690935)

ok, and who said these gaming companies will accept BOTS in their servers?

I for one am quite sure that the official acceptance of any bot will stir quite an uprising from the eve online crowd.

dot hack hopeful~ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25690943)

yet more mention of the potential existence of Aura..

while WoW might be A, world. It certainly isnt The World.

Well, shit. (1)

gblues (90260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25692147)

I wonder what MOS this falls under. It sure as hell wasn't there when I enlisted in August.

It's only a grind because people have done it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25724109)

MMO's such as WoW only seem like a grind because previous players have played through the game and formulated optimal strategies for each situation.

There are "addons" to the user interface that a player can install that will tell you where to go for quests or what types of strategies to use for situations that require a coordinated group for 10-40 people. But again, these addons were created by other players and contain information provided by previous players.

It would be fairly trivial to test if the AI can follow specific set of directions provided by previous human players. The real challenge is, given a completely new situation, can the AI react to the situation and formulate a strategy that will ensure success?

For example, in the endgame content, there are these "raids" that require a highly coordinated group for 10-40 players. There is a great deal of information about how to get through each of these raid encounters now since previous players have done them. However, can you imagine how it would have been for the first players to do these raids? They had to actually read the bits of information gathered from quests and devise a strategy through experimentation. There were no addons that told these players what was going to happen next or what to do.

Maybe in that sense, that is what they are trying to accomplish with the AI. Testing it's ability to formulate strategies from experimentation and bits of information gathered from limited dialogue; not just simply scanning packets for information or following scripted instructions like what bots can do.

Doddy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25795279)

U.S. Department of Defence - The Pentagon
List of Expenditures for January 09
RAU1 Warheads (22) - USD 213,000
F99 Assault Planes (3) - USD 3,000,000
World of Warcraft (40) - USD 9.99
The Burning Crusade (40) - USD 9.99
Wrath of the Lich King (40) - USD 39.99
M121 Uzi (20) - USD 4,321

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