Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Use of AI in Gaming These are contests that take place on constantly shifting terrain. Smith releases his latest version of a program: it wins for a couple of weeks, then the humans figure out how to beat it and they win for a couple of weeks while Smith goes away and works on his software – algorithms, probability calculations, search techniques – and scratches his head. Then he comes back with a new version of the program that wins for a couple of weeks, while the humans go away and think about it. “We have this ratcheting up,” Smith says. “It’s a very intellectually rewarding thing.”
However impressive the advances in computing seem at the time, the ultimate goal of artificial intelligence – a machine that can think like a human, Hal the computer from the film 2001 – is always just over the horizon. Smith’s own favourite quote about the field is that “AI is whatever Computers can’t do yet”. “People tend to move the goalposts,” he says. “Fifty years ago it was chess – ‘We’ll know we’ve got intelligent programs when we get a program that can beat a grandmaster at chess.’ Now we have and everyone says, ‘That’s not AI, it’s something else.’”


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