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AI System Invents New Card Games (For Humans)

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the they're-just-toying-with-us dept.

AI 112

jtogel writes "This New Scientist article describes our AI system that automatically generates card games. The article contains a description of a playable card game generated by our system. But card games are just the beginning... The card game generator is a part of a larger project to automatise all of game development using artificial intelligence methods — we're also working on level generation for a variety of different games, and on rule generation for simple arcade-like games."

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Good luck with that (5, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627225)

Creating games or levels is pretty simple (well, relatively speaking) in comparison to making them fun. Bu the myriad of bad games out there, I would say that making good games or levels is something not even natural intelligence masters routinely. It is bound to fail trying to do it with AI. Nonetheless a nice research benchmark. But please stop trying to imply real-world usability where there is none. It is unethical and unprofessional.

Re:Good luck with that (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627425)

TBH, I don't think we even play the best games out there routinely - at least for board games. Monopoly, for instance, is a really shitty game with everything in favor of the guy who lands on good properties and then drags on forever. But it's one of those board games nearly every family has in their closet.

Re:Good luck with that (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627621)

Monopoly is popular because it has multiple chances for entertainment. You're making money, watching it all go down, landing in jail, etc. Good games aren't necessarily fair, but they do need to be entertaining.

Re:Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627845)

Yes, I agree with you most of game is for human entertaining :)

Re:Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627927)

I suggest you go play it a couple of times. It really isn't very entertaining.

Re:Good luck with that (3, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43628057)

The game mechanic itself isn't. The human interaction that arises out of the game mechanics is.
Most of the fun in board games is about having a shared experience; a context to talk about.
Buying and selling streets and houses is boring. Continuously calculating and counting money is tedious. Making jokes about it is fun.

Re:Good luck with that (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43628083)

Interestingly, Monopoly is a lot better when you play with the auction rule that everyone ignores. The official rules also include a couple of altered games with fixed time limits, to prevent the dragging-on that occurs when you omit the auction rule.

Re:Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43628983)

The auction rule "everyone ignores"? I didn't know anyone ignored it; we've played with it since the '70s.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

tmosley (996283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43629379)

You are the only person I have ever met that plays that way, then. I never even knew that such a rule existed until I played it on SNES or some other console. I've played it that way a couple of times since then.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43629883)

You are the only person I have ever met that plays that way, then.

uh, not to kill the mood here but ... you haven't actually met this person.

just sayin'

sorry, still no friends.

Re:Good luck with that (3, Informative)

MorePower (581188) | about a year and a half ago | (#43629147)

Monopoly apologists always drag out the "its so much better if you use the 'auction property if it isn't bought' rule". I've never seen a situation where it matters, everyone always buys every single property that they land on. Every single time. Occasionally someone will be a little short on cash (from buying tons of property already) and there's a little bit of "should I really mortgage stuff to buy this property?" But they always do it, nobody ever leaves property unbought.

Re:Good luck with that (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627619)

But please stop trying to imply real-world usability where there is none. It is unethical and unprofessional.

But it keeps the grant money coming.

What they've created is a method for representing card games symbolically (probably the hardest part of the project). Then they searched through many permutations of games, and keeping the ones that pass an acceptance criteria. It's AI the same way Prolog is AI.

Or depth first search. Is depth first search AI? Does an A* search make a machine intelligence? We need a new tag, SearchIsNotAI or something.

Re:Good luck with that (3, Interesting)

jtogel (840879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627835)

It's not "blind" search like Prolog, or even depth-first search. It's objective driven search using artificial evolution. Actually, almost all successful AI uses search in a prominent role.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43629259)

Yes, which is how we know it isn't doing the same thing as the human brain.

Re:Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43629451)

Hogwash. Exporting some people's brain to such an AI will be indistinguishable from the real thing, thus we have proven the two things to be the same.
Anyone else who disagree of such obvious facts are stupid brainwashed dorks.

Re:Good luck with that (3, Interesting)

loneDreamer (1502073) | about a year and a half ago | (#43629765)

It's AI the same way Prolog is AI. ... SearchIsNotAI or something.

HUH? You definitely lost me there. First, Prolog is a computer language more than any kind of algorithm, just one more declarative and suited for logic. Definitely a lot of AI has been coded in Prolog.

Second, how is search not AI??? Almost any AI algorithm I can think of is a search problem. Chess (or other games) AI is nothing else than a search for a close to optimal set of moves (based on a scoring function). SLAM and Path-finding in general is also a search. Watson performs a search for potential documents matching the query. Classifiers search for an optimal decision boundary to divide the data. Clustering searches for a stable configuration of centroids (for example). Object recognition searches for matches that maximize the likelihood between object... etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I mean, almost any algorithm that I have been teach in Machine Learning and Robotics has been introduced as a search problem!

Re:Good luck with that (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43629857)

Well if you don't understand how Prolog searches, you don't understand Prolog.

Do you consider a sorting algorithm to be AI? Creating ontology and searching through it does not require intelligence, for reasons similar to those described in this paper [cogprints.org] .

Re:Good luck with that (1)

loneDreamer (1502073) | about a year and a half ago | (#43629983)

I know that prolog searches. What I'm saying it that a lot of what is considered AI by the people that do AI is based on search. I gave plenty of examples of what I consider the common point of view in the field. Your paper, being written inside a Department of Philosophy, might re-define AI if differently. I'm not against exploring new definitions of AI, but if you want to do that, you should start by stating it.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43630209)

What I'm saying it that a lot of what is considered AI by the people that do AI is based on search.

This is true, you are right. It is also true, unfortunately, that a lot of what is considered AI by the people that do AI has nothing to with intelligence.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | about a year and a half ago | (#43630753)

a lot of what is considered AI by the people that do AI has nothing to with intelligence.

No it has to do with automating reasoning. Intelligence is so vaguely defined that two people could have an opposite opinion on the importance of rational tough in the definition of intelligence and they would both be right be right depending on which school of thoughts you belong. I suggest you read a little bit in the following encyclopedia : starting at that page [stanford.edu]

Re:Good luck with that (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43630877)

Everything a computer does is automated reasoning. Different people have different definitions of 'intelligence,' but rarely does it include depth first search.

I suggest you stop messing around with encyclopedias and start reading journals. Here is a good place to start [cogprints.org] , as mentioned earlier.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631317)

thing about articles is that they are static and only present one point of view at a particular point in time, in that case the one of John R. Searle in 1980. A reputable academic encyclopedia, like Standford Plato's, present a multitude of views and stays current.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631335)

Go for breadth, not depth, eh?

Re:Good luck with that (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631349)

yeah breath first, depth as needed. I generally prefer to be a generalist.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631361)

meant breath first, breadth second and depth as needed ;)

Re:Good luck with that (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631479)

Who can discount the wisdom of breathing?

Re:Good luck with that (1)

joseph90 (193138) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631149)

But please stop trying to imply real-world usability where there is none. It is unethical and unprofessional.

But it keeps the grant money coming.

What they've created is a method for representing card games symbolically (probably the hardest part of the project). Then they searched through many permutations of games, and keeping the ones that pass an acceptance criteria. It's AI the same way Prolog is AI.

Or depth first search. Is depth first search AI? Does an A* search make a machine intelligence? We need a new tag, SearchIsNotAI or something.

Search is an integral part of AI. Always has been. One famous AI scientist once said that all AI is just search and knowledge representation. It is also the case that once we find an AI algorithm that works sucessfully it seems to no longer be considered AI.

The algorithm here is a small incremental improvement, thats how breakthroughs work - bit by bit. The scientists may not have claimed it as a hugh breakthrough, I would guess the journalists did that if anyone did.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631207)

Problem here is they aren't moving toward an understanding of how the human mind works, they are merely solving problems using searching. That's not AI.

Re:Good luck with that (0)

lorinc (2470890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627715)

It is bound to fail trying to do it with AI.

And still you know it will work very well in the long run, like almost every other task that was set to fail with AI.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43628071)

People keep attributing magical properties to their own intelligence that no mechanical machine could possible possess.
The simple truth is that our brains are just as mechanical as any machine, albeit a very impressive machine.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | about a year and a half ago | (#43629417)

I don't know about the impressibe part - Have you seen *some* people?

Re:Good luck with that (1, Funny)

narcc (412956) | about a year and a half ago | (#43628209)

As far as I can tell, "AI" has succeeded only in keeping the same name after endless redefinitions resulting from it's numerous failures.

Your blind faith in AI seems to indicate that you're either hopelessly misguided or one of those singularity nuts. I can only hope that you've merely been mislead...

(To Ray's deluded followers: Just get over the pretense and just worship Kurzweil the prophet outright. Failing that, at least get robes. Not only will they keep you warm, they make you and your fellow cult members easier to avoid. It's a win-win, really.)

Re:Good luck with that (2)

lorinc (2470890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43630337)

As far as I can tell, "AI" has succeeded only in keeping the same name after endless redefinitions resulting from it's numerous failures.

Your blind faith in AI seems to indicate that you're either hopelessly misguided or one of those singularity nuts.

Absolutely not. The improvement in fields that were said to be impossible for AI are just astonishing, and I am among the first surprised by such successes. Let's state it clear: computing power is increasing, theoretical models are improving, practical implementations are getting more efficient. So yeah, basically Turing was right, we are just impressively capable computers and nothing more.

Around 5 or 6 years ago, there were some image classification benchmarks that were incredibly tough and said to be almost impossible to solve with a machine, with very low accuracies. Were are we now? Well the improvements have been far better than expected. Far better than I expected, to be honest. In some sense I would have loved if it didn't, since the pressure of this ever growing progress is stressful to my students and complicates the publication of novel ideas. But basically, yeah, it is improving a lot. It is science, it just works.

You could argue computer vision is not AI, but it is. Everything that allows a computer to make a statement that you thought was only possible by a human is AI.

Again, I am not interested in the the colorful stories about consciousness or whatever. What I'm saying is that there is basically no task that a computer will not be able to perform in the long run. Get over it, we are all replaceable by machines. Engineers, researchers, artists, name what you want, it is only a question of time and not of possibility.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

narcc (412956) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631105)

Everything that allows a computer to make a statement that you thought was only possible by a human is AI.

And the redefinition continues. This one is great, as it's both overly broad and completely subjective. As a bonus, it defines "AI" exclusively in terms of successes.

Hey, now it can't fail!

Re:Good luck with that (1)

muhula (621678) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627983)

Before you start with righteous indignation, maybe you could try playing the game created by this specific algorithm? It seems like it might be fun. Any takers?

Re:Good luck with that (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#43628245)

There are a LOT of games that have random level generation. Rogue being one of the first. It's random level generation being ones of its most important features. I could see this sort of thing being used in that sort of way.

Re:Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43629171)

Creating games or levels is pretty simple (well, relatively speaking) in comparison to making them fun. Bu the myriad of bad games out there, I would say that making good games or levels is something not even natural intelligence masters routinely. It is bound to fail trying to do it with AI. Nonetheless a nice research benchmark. But please stop trying to imply real-world usability where there is none. It is unethical and unprofessional.

This seems to imply a lack of understanding of AI... using machine learning I don't see it being too hard for the system to learn what makes a game good or not.

Automate all game development? (4, Funny)

Megahard (1053072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627227)

Shall we play Global Thermonuclear War?

Re:Automate all game development? (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627431)

That's a strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

How about a nice game of chess?

Re:Automate all game development? (1)

tmosley (996283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43629393)

That's a strange game, the only way to win is to KILL ALL HUMANS.

Re:Automate all game development? (2)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627483)

Shall we play Global Thermonuclear War?

Sure, I love that game [wikipedia.org] .

OK, so it's not what you were referencing, but it is a card game, and the name is close, and it is quite fun. And, it's probably not the sort of game that an AI could come up with.

What we really need on this planet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627245)

is a 3D printer for sex dolls.

Re:What we really need on this planet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627253)

Where do I download a Bailey Jay model?

Re:What we really need on this planet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627589)

Let me know when you find out.

Re:What we really need on this planet... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627597)

Oh, and I want a circa-2007 version, or at least pre-implants.

The future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627247)

I see MMO expansions someday taking this route to expedite content generation. Players complain there's not enough content? Drag and drop your quest generator with a bit of human tweaking and you're good to go. I'm sure some of the systems in Eve were generated partly through random generation.

The Past, also: (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627341)

I see MMO expansions someday taking this route to expedite content generation. Players complain there's not enough content? Drag and drop your quest generator with a bit of human tweaking and you're good to go. I'm sure some of the systems in Eve were generated partly through random generation.

It turns out that procedural generation is conceptually pretty easy; but making it good is much harder. Early videogames(from the era where memory and storage constraints were Serious Business) and demoscene stuff(where the constraints are wholly artificial; but that's the point of the exercise) are pretty much forced to rely on it heavily because they simply didn't have the option of storing canned content.

Today, though, you see games with substantially greater amounts of (not inexpensive) artists and designers thrown at them, and gigabytes of art assets, with hand-tweaking especially evident in places where the player is likely to look closely(eg. generic NPCs will be thrown together from parts, giving the world a varied population without requiring the art people to hand-model 10,000 different 'bandit' characters; but the risk of output that just looks a little off, or hit a few branches of the ugly tree on the way down, means that those critical NPCs that follow you around for half the game had their appearance nailed down precisely). The fact that artists are slow and expensive has created a demand for procedural generation tools, and quite a few exist(I'll just mention SpeedTree, purely because the phrase "SpeedTree for Games has been the gaming industry's premier vegetation solution since 2002" amuses me); but the problem of creating really good environments continues to be vexing enough that titles that can afford it throw a lot of humans at the problem.

Re:The Past, also: (4, Interesting)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627999)

I don't entirely agree with this. I think the reason major development houses don't put resources into procedural content generation is lack of imagination, and fear of taking risks. Several independent [shamusyoung.com] software [blogspot.de] researchers [bay12games.com] have solo developed demonstration projects recently that hint at what can be achieved and how much work it takes, and in terms of programmer hours vs. artist hours it actually looks very promising, as well as in terms of actual product quality. I think the big studios just have a winning formula that is making them millions and they are afraid to step out of their comfort zone and risk trying something new.

Re:The Past, also: (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43630609)

Don't get me wrong, I hardly think that procedural generation is an intractable problem, or that the AAAs are on the leading edge of good game design(though it is worth noting that some have actually retreated from doing procedural generation, rather than merely not embraced it: TES II: Daggerfall was enormous, ~2x the size of Britain and the thick end of a million NPCs, TES III: Morrowind, moved to a teeny hand-built environment because TES II was judged as having a rather... lifeless... and barren feel despite being so large. TES IV: Oblivion was more aggressive about automating scenery and foliage, and clutter; but still mostly handbuilt. TES V added a few additional tools for this 'hybrid' arrangement; but still remained largely handbuilt, or at least hand-verified-and-tweaked) However, something like Dwarf Fortress is actually a pretty good example of its power and its issues.

Can dwarf fortress build an impressively detailed world, including adherence to assorted laws of geology and a backstory and so on, from a seed? Indeed so, it's quite something to watch. Does the same system fairly routinely drop players into unwinnable or severely constrained scenarios(the Hammerer is rampaging around killing people for not building some glass widget; but there isn't any sand on the map, I burrowed into a nest of horrors while trying to get enough stone for my noob fortress,etc)? "Losing is Fun!"

I fully expect continued improvement in the ability of procedural tools to generate content that doesn't feel 'off' to humans, and a corresponding expansion further into the core gameplay(as opposed to a timesaving tool for the dev team to pre-populate a starting environment for human tweaking, or a tool consigned to randomizing foliage and beards for sweeping vistas and bit characters); but the challenges are nontrivial, and tend to become more pronounced as they get 'closer' to the core of the game.

The rules from the TFA ... (5, Funny)

TrollstonButtersbean (2890693) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627249)

Each player gets six cards, except for the player on the dealer's right, who gets seven. .. Two jacks are a "half-fizzbin". If you have a half-fizzbin: a third jack is a "shralk" and results in disqualification. One wants a king and a deuce, except at night ...when one wants a queen and a four. The second card is turned up, except on Tuesdays.

Re:The rules from the TFA ... (2)

Aonghus142000 (908581) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627495)

Wow, it sounds like a simplified form of Cripple Mr. Onion.

Re:The rules from the TFA ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627685)

I was hoping to be the first to get the fizzbin reference, but alas, you beat me to it!
Bravo!

Stupid bullshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627257)

Auto generate games! Cool. Nerrrrrt

Ah Programmers... (4, Funny)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627279)

Programmers make me laugh hysterically sometimes. Seriously, when in the history of man has an entire portion of an industry been dedicated to the following two goals:
1) Obsolescence of all current vocational knowledge in their field on 5-15 year scales.

2) The ultimate goal of their work is the removal of their job position from the market (the singularity which can hack in C).

Re:Ah Programmers... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627367)

Arguably, at least some branches of science and medicine have some major overlaps(though the timescale tends to be longer because reality is stubborn and complex, and just gets worse the deeper you go).

Major credit accrues to those who develop new models that render the old ones obsolete or deeply incomplete, and discover new phenomena that require a course of study distinct from the old ones.

And, while there isn't any major risk of them succeeding themselves out of business, Team Epidemiology is always trying to wipe out one pathogen or another. It doesn't have quite the same finality as 'the singularity'; but that's mostly because they are chasing a bunch of moving targets.

Re:Ah Programmers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627453)

1) That's a pretty inaccurate assessment. Unless by "vocational" you mean "programming language A, B, or C." And even then there are plenty of applications still using a given language. And the core concepts remain, albeit with perhaps some new information (just like other fields). Nevermind your statement could be seen to apply to the research branch of any industry.

2) ...at which point the individuals who actually succeeded would be extremely wealthy (and really so would the human race).

Re:Ah Programmers... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43630613)

2) ...at which point the individuals who actually succeeded would be extremely wealthy (and really so would the human race)

Except for the ones who get fed into the matter decompilers to produce more computronium...

Re:Ah Programmers... (2)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627573)

Believe me, when you look at what programmers routinely generate, there is no risk of them becoming obsolete anytime soon (unless those that pay them recognize the scam and either go non-computer again or hire those few that are actually good at it). Most code is so bad that you should actually throw it away before it makes it into production. Most other code will have to be replaced in a few years. When you find something that it really good, it very often is old and whoever write it did just happen to understand portability and simplicity. (Some of the current GNU tools sources have not been changed for more than 10 years.)

The underlying problem is that most programmers do not even understand coding. They often can program barely in one language. To be good, they would have to understand architecture, design, coding (in a number of languages and paradigms) and the business model of the client. Not many manage that. But everything less is really just a waste of money and time. You really need the "surgical team" Brooks describes. It has something like 3 engineers and 4 helpers and that is it. It is not possible to get more efficient, larger teams are always far, far less efficient and often not even effective at all. And these small teams need the best available (and of course compensate them adequately.)

For an accurate description of the pathetic state "programming" is in today, also refer to http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2010/02/the-nonprogramming-programmer.html [codinghorror.com] It may sound unbelievable, but is spot-on. I have seen this time and again when doing code and interface reviews in critical projects of large organizations. And this does not even address questions of architecture and design that are absolutely critical for any larger project.

Re:Ah Programmers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43630415)

> To be good, they would have to understand architecture, design, coding (in a number of languages and paradigms) and the business model of the client.

That is not nearly enough. You need to understand user experience, testing, security, estimating, social skills, math, OOP, functional programming, various programming tools, technical writing, various standards and technologies (e.g. HTML, SQL, TCP/IP etc.), etc., etc. You also need to be motivated, constantly learning and teaching also others. You also need to suggest new sales ideas, make the customer happy and sometimes also work as an IT support. And do you know what your salary is when you know and do all these? About the same as it is with those who can't even write a hello world.

Re:Ah Programmers... (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627609)

Programmers make me laugh hysterically sometimes. Seriously, when in the history of man has an entire portion of an industry been dedicated to the following two goals: 1) Obsolescence of all current vocational knowledge in their field on 5-15 year scales. 2) The ultimate goal of their work is the removal of their job position from the market (the singularity which can hack in C).

OK. I'll bite:

0) Machine Intelligence systems are great for helping humans -- Luxury car break controls for when your attention is lacking, Segues, for when your balance is lacking, Self driving car for when you need to take a nap on that long drive, Automatic terrain creation so you don't have to piddle with setting each stone and tree, you can just generate a bunch of settings until you find a cool one, then sculpt the land a bit more way you like to add more visual interests afterwards, Which is how RL stuff is made anyhow -- the universe is an automated environment generation system for you to build your stuff atop -- Imagine placing each molecule of a building manually! Doing this for game rules too is an obvious iteration.

1) There will always need to be someone in charge at some higher level to direct the automated systems, from traffic lights, to power grids, to AI game designing systems. Who do you hire? The guy who just learned how to use the system? Or the guy who can manage it AND FIX IT if need be?

You damn Absolutists make me laugh. Herp, It's got to be one side of the false dichotomy or the other, Derp!

Furthermore:
2) I've got so many other things to do, I'm glad when the job is OVER! There doesn't have to be and endless stream of work for any given task, that's asinine! No one wants to be stuck doing the same thing forever. Even sex gets boring if that's all you do! ( This has happened thrice: Eventually she'll be fantasizing about romance novel scenarios and you'll be wanting to play with hardware and complex pulley systems before too long -- Just hope the novels she likes are sci-fi: "Honey look, my cock has a vibrating slithering Tentacle attachment!"). So, yeah, laugh all you want sucker. I'll be automating my tasks as much as possible, and then when it's a SOLVED problem that any idiot (with a tentacle dick strap on) can do, then I move on to more adventurous Problems.

I could have a hundred clones and we'd never be out of work, even if one of the tasks is to create a hundred more clones to help! Enjoy your monotony, moron.

Re:Ah Programmers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627657)

The entire reason behind technology is the elimination of human labor. Intellectual labor is not exempt. But it is all ok as the goal of evolution is to eliminate us and develop more fit creatures. Apparently the universe itself is designed to self eliminate. I suppose all is going as anticipated.

Re:Ah Programmers... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43628079)

"Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it."
The same was said about steam powered machines at the dawn of industrialization.

Re:Ah Programmers... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43629131)

Programmers make me laugh hysterically sometimes. Seriously, when in the history of man has an entire portion of an industry been dedicated to the following two goals:
1) Obsolescence of all current vocational knowledge in their field on 5-15 year scales.

2) The ultimate goal of their work is the removal of their job position from the market (the singularity which can hack in C).

practically every industry is geared towards removal of job positions. all industrialism is part of that. you can just go back to burning spinning jennies though.

(practically none of game development industry is geared towards true ai though, if you think that then you're a victim of some pretty effective marketing)

Re:Ah Programmers... (1)

loneDreamer (1502073) | about a year and a half ago | (#43629861)

Your goals are loaded. I can easily present a competing goals for the same behavior that push you into a different conclusion:
1) To create something that does the hard work for you.

Seen this way, in the history of man, almost EVERY industry has been trying to do this for a long, long time. The issue here is not technical development, is the fact that one we achieve something, we always come up with something else to go for and maybe an issue of how we should distribute the benefits of those developments.

Machine learning game strategies (4, Interesting)

clam666 (1178429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627281)

On a tangentally related idea, we're working on a project of machine learning to take games and the rules of play, then derive strategy based on the rules.

Nothing particularly new, except we don't define what winning is, just the rules of the game. No hint is given to what constitutes good play, or even what "playing" is. Although it is a very slow process depending on game complexity (learning can take weeks and sometimes months of processing time), it requires no real programming effort, beause we don't have to know what "good" play is or some series of algorithms; it produces better and better tactics and strategies of play during the learning process, by experimenting with the rules, how to play, and such.

What's cool about this, is that you can watch it teaching itself different strategies and tactics. Some of the "tactics" it creates are many times counter intuitive or plain bizarre, but based on the overall strategies it develops, allows for some really different playing experiences as it doesn't follow human game logic based on experience with "similar" games or "intuition".

Re:Machine learning game strategies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627319)

If you don't define what winning is then how can you judge a tactic as good?

Re:Machine learning game strategies (4, Interesting)

clam666 (1178429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627359)

Let me clarify that, as that statement was misleading.

We don't program what winning is as any function of the strategy. The system comes up with several strategies, which all play against each other. At the end of a series of competitions, a strategy is told "Hey, you played against a bunch of different people, you won more than the rest. We don't define what winning is, how it won, or even what winning is, we just tell the system that strategy 1532 was the best. The system knows what strategies work better than others, so it can learn what methods are more successful. The system doesn't know why it won, just that when it made certain decisions it won more often. We don't even tell it on each game, we tell it after an aggregation of multiple competitions how it did. By comparing all the strategies it tried, then it develops better and more complex ways to win (which we didn't tell it how to do).

Even more interesting is when it comes up with what is considered doctrinal tactics that humans have arrived at to win as well (or statistically increase the chances of such) although no such logic was included in the programming.

The benefit to this is that although it takes a LONG time to develop "good" strategies, it comes up with completely unique and novel approaches to winning, even though it doesn't know how exactly it won, only that its strategy wins more than everyone else.

The benefit to us is we just tell it the game rules, we don't have to come up with any specific playing algorithm, the learning system figures that out. We just tell it the rules, whether they are concrete like in chess (bishops move diagonally, pawns move one, or start with two, etc) or variable rules based on other complexity factors. Whether its poker or chess or military tactics, the systems job is to come up with the strategy. How good or complex that strategy is allowed to be, is a function of how much processing time we want to give the system to learn the best way to win.

Re:Machine learning game strategies (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627551)

In other words, it's an evolution of strategies.

Re:Machine learning game strategies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43629483)

Actually sounds more like a general-purpose game-tree pruning and scoring algorithm.
If it's entirely based on outside stimuli (score), it's a simplified kind of evolution.
If it's able to compare and formalize a sort of understanding (model), it's AI.

Re: Machine learning game strategies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627601)

Grandparent coward here. Thanks for clarifying. Have you looked into a textbook by Koza called Genetic Programming? It'd probably be right up your alley.

Re: Machine learning game strategies (5, Interesting)

clam666 (1178429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627707)

We use several forms of evolutionary programming in several sections of the learning systems' areas.

There are hybridized genetic algorithms in the portions involving the strategy blending evolution system, which does a few different forms of strategy selection pressure and evolution controls, which is critical due to training time to not cause premature convergence or genetic instability.

Additionally, we introduce additonal factors such a genetic drift and migration so that out competing strategies can evolve independently as the explore the strategy plane.

There are macro level evolution techniques to handle the complexity growth of the strategy species, so that the complexity can be altered depending on how "advanced" the system needs to be. In a simple sense of a turn based game, it would equate to the number of plies or analysis depth you would go. For more complex multiobjective systems, like military tactics involving minimizing casualties, civilian losses, maximizing kill or capture of enemy units, minimizing structural damage to infrastructure, etc., then it modifies the strategy complexity. For example, you could send eveyone with guns to kill everyone, or you could parallel it on intelligence gathering with drone units to direct fire, long range snipers or diversionary tactics, or factoring logistical support costs.

A lot of the core work is maximizing the efficiency of the evolutionary strategies, as they are the biggest fator in learning time. It's really easy to write inefficient logic that ends up taking much longer to arrive at good solutions without getting lost due to too much noise or oscillation in the system.

Another method that is used is a version of PSO, which is used to optimize subsections of the strategy (depending on what we are trying to find a solution to) that further get to optimal solutions.

So a lot of bachelors level CS is used. Although a lot of customization has been done, the benefit is it uses a lot of basic concepts, and utilized processing power rather than trying to algorithmically come up with solutions. Also, it can be continuously adaptable so it adjusts to situational changes. The strategy isn't locked, it can be reacts based on changes to frontier so to speak. If your opponent changes what they're doing, or doing something new, it can adjust itself to that.

"We don't define what winning is...", but you do!! (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43628611)

re: We don't define what winning is, how it won, or even what winning is,
.
But usually, the "rules of the game" specifically point out exactly "what winning is". An end goal or an end-state is defined as the desireable outcome, whether it's getting to the end of the squares' sequence in the board game Life or whether it's getting a "higher scoring" hand in poker, the concept of a winning move (or equivalently, a game ending move along with a ranking system that defines who the winner is, e.g. monopoly ends based on money running out for one or all but one player, the rest are ranked by how much money remains).
.
I know I sound pedantic, but if the "system" learns the "rules of the game", then it is given a definition of "what winning is." Have I misunderstood what you're trying to say?

Re:Machine learning game strategies (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627579)

Sounds interesting. And a lot more long-term and rational than much of the basically worthless "rockstar" research going on in the area. Have some publications about this?

Re:Machine learning game strategies (4, Interesting)

clam666 (1178429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627759)

Portions of it were influenced on a couple of works done.

Chellapilla and Fogel's 2001 work on Anaconda which built a completely evolved checkers program, which did similar techniques at the broad level. The checkers playing strategies in their case were building neural networks which regulated play. Our similarities are in the way that the strategies evolved and that no game specific knowledge was needed, other than movement rules and an aggregation of strategy fitness across competition rather than individual competition values,

Other techniques are in Kewley and Embrechts 2002 work on military strategy which was interesting in that the evolved strategies were good military strategy (with emergent doctrinal tactics) which beat military experts strategies in a simulation, in additional to beating it's own strategy when military experts modified it. This also used evolutionary concepts to evolve its solutions.

Unfortunately I can't divulge our own specific information above and beyond what I've discussed, but we certainly have been influenced by previous work on the subject, and made a few new additions to it in our own work.

Re:Machine learning game strategies (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627997)

Thanks anyways!

Re:Machine learning game strategies (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about a year and a half ago | (#43628043)

Thinking of branching out to simple arcade games, like Bubble Bubble or Pacman? I'd love to see a video of a computer mastering those...

Re:Machine learning game strategies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43628247)

What kind of research do you consider "rockstar"?

Re:Machine learning game strategies (1)

braindrainbahrain (874202) | about a year and a half ago | (#43628317)

You are reminding me of Blondie24 [wikipedia.org] . Please publish, or provide a link or something. Would love to read up on your work.

I'll believe they're real games... (1)

Nova Express (100383) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627299)

...when they require three booster packs and a prime card bought off eBay to be competitive!

Not too impressed (2)

m93 (684512) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627349)

It's not too difficult to conceptualize people creating a computer that can design games based upon numerical or statistical elements, such as a deck of 52 cards divided into numbers and sets. Show me a computer than can take a theme (let's say, WWII tactical), create abstract mechanics that reflect playable functionality within that theme (let's say combat rules for historically accurate factions/units/weapons) and then make it fun (Combat Commander [boardgamegeek.com] anyone?)....well, then I will bow to our new artificial overlords.

Re:Not too impressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43629211)

The bar for AI is always going up :)
20 years ago: "The computer will be /really/ intelligent if it can beat anyone at chess"
5 years ago: "The computer will be /really/ intelligent if it can beat anyone at Jeopardy"

Here's a system that can design new abstract games.
Yes, it's an early step.
But you really think that choosing mechanics to fit a theme is (a) out of AI's reach, and (b) that far away?
That doesn't seem very challenging.

Making it fun, well... that's something most humans can't do :)

Ownership Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627363)

So who "owns" the content? Eventually we'll get to a point where AIs are sufficiently robust to create games with minimal human input. Does the human/corporation that owns the AI own its work product via some work-for-hire doctrine? What if the AI can pass the Turing test? Hmm. I think I have an idea for a law journal paper.

Fizbin! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627521)

Get a piece of the action!

Re:Fizbin! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627577)

Background info on Fizbin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v77SF4TFUoM [youtube.com]

I know a couple of kids that do the same. (1)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627559)

The latest game they made up (on Friday) was two card draw poker (i.e. hand size is two cards). I worked through the probabilities with them to get the rank of hands correct. (It turns out to be straight flush, pair, straight, flush, high card.)

Project description (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43627605)

Here an interesting project description in youtube : Project [youtube.com]

The Matrix Begins (1)

Greg Merchan (64308) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627779)

So this will be the Architect. Who's working on the Oracle?

Some additional info (1)

jtogel (840879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43627859)

The original papers describing the work can be found here:
http://julian.togelius.com/Font2013Towards.pdf [togelius.com]
and
http://julian.togelius.com/Font2013A.pdf [togelius.com]

Similar evolutionary techniques have been used to generate a number of different types of game content, including Starcraft maps, Super Mario levels, rocks, dungeons, weapons... Here's an overview:
http://julian.togelius.com/Togelius2011Searchbased.pdf [togelius.com]

TFS: A Playable Card Game (1)

foobsr (693224) | about a year and a half ago | (#43628051)

Makes me wonder about the concept of an "unplayable game".

CC.

Yavalath (2)

braindrainbahrain (874202) | about a year and a half ago | (#43628335)

There is at least one board game that was computer designed: Yavalath [boardgamegeek.com] . Yavalath was designed algorithmically by Cameron Browne, as described in his PhD thesis "Automatic Generation and Evaluation of Recombination Games". See his publications here:

http://www.cameronius.com/ [cameronius.com]

Re:Yavalath (1)

jtogel (840879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43629293)

Yes, Cameron's work was one of our sources of inspiration. The Ludi system that produced Yavalath is clearly a milestone in research on automatic game design. Another source of inspiration was my own work on automatic game design for simple PacMan-like games, which was carried out at the same time as Cameron's work and is described in this paper:
http://julian.togelius.com/Togelius2008An.pdf [togelius.com]
In general, this line of research is still in its infancy, as we are trying to figure out new ways of evaluating game quality and representing various aspects of games.

Coming soon from an AI near you: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43628371)

Roguelike: The Roguelike.

I'll be honest, I fail to see what they're doing that is "new".

Sounds terrifying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43628499)

Sounds like a 2001/SAW crossover fanfic.

"Would you like to play a game, Dave?"

GlaDoS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43628535)

is pleased with this development. These games must be tested. Let us begin, there is science to be done.

drinking games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43629073)

Wake me up when an AI invents drinking games

more sameness made cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43629497)

Oh boy! More sameness. Like we didn't have enough of that already - oh but wait, this is progress, it will put game designers out of work if it succeeds. *nods* Corporate entities demand this kind of 'progress for productivity gains'.

Joy.

Pray that AI never learns to sue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43630007)

Pray that AI never learns to sue, today enjoy those nifty games, tomorrow prepare to be sued by AI. Imagine a system like this in the hands of a patent troll.

52-pickup (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43630479)

And for some reason, the computer can always kick your ass at this game, too.

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