Photo by Vincent Diamante
What new kinds of games will we play in the future, and what key knowledge and skills will game developers need to invent them? Futurist and game designer Jane McGonigal argues that over the next decade, games will become a powerful interface for managing our real work, organizing society, and optimizing our real lives. Increasingly, she predicts, game developers will be charged with the task of making people happier, smarter, friendlier, greener, and healthier — and hundreds of millions of new gamers will be playing together at home, at school, at work, and everywhere in between. The result? Game design and development expertise will become a sought-after talent in virtually every industry and field, from Fortune 500 companies to top government agencies.
As AI developers are convening in San Francisco this week for the Game Developers Conference, another artificial intelligence conference is wrapping up in Arlington, Virginia, a short walk from the Pentagon. AGI-09, the second conference on artificial general intelligence, brings together researchers attempting to create learning, reasoning agents with broad, humanlike intelligence.
Organized by Dr. Ben Goertzel, chief science officer of Novamente LLC, the AGI conference series is a motivated effort to steer research back in the direction of the original intents of AI, namely to make a thinking machine. Goertzel’s plan is to inch up the cognitive ladder by incrementally developing more cleverly adaptive pets in virtual worlds and massively multiplayer online games.
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At AGI-08: The First Conference on Artificial General Intelligence, Andrew Shilliday of the Rensselaer A.I. and Reasoning Lab reported on the attempts by researchers at the organization to enable artificial agents to reason about the beliefs of others, resulting in game characters that can predict the behavior of human players.
At AGI-08: The First Conference on Artificial General Intelligence, Novamente LLC CSO Ben Goertzel presented on a paper by Cassio Pennachin et al. on a teaching methodology called Imitative-Reinforcement-Corrective (IRC) learning, proposed as a general approach for teaching embodied non-linguistic AGI systems. IRC is a framework for automatically learning a procedure that generates a desired type of behavior. A set of exemplars of the target behavior-type are utilized for fitness estimation, reinforcement signals from a human teacher are used for fitness evaluation, and the execution of candidate procedures may be modified by the teacher via corrections delivered in real-time.
Benjamin Johnston and Martin Magnusson at the AGI-08 post-conference workshop
Inhabiting the complex and dynamic environments of modern computer games with autonomous agents capable of intelligent timely behavior is a significant research challenge. Martin Magnusson illustrates this point speaking on the topic of his paper with Patrick Doherty using their own attempts to build a practical agent architecture on a logicist foundation.
Ray Kurzweil has received the National Medal of Technology, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and has been honored by three U.S. presidents. For the February 21 keynote presentation of the 2008 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, he gave a talk entitled “The Next 20 Years of Gaming” where he discussed the foreseeable ramifications of the accelerating price performance growth of information technologies such as those found in the videogame industry.
Ben Goertzel is Director of Research for the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, responsible for overseeing the direction of the organization’s research division. He has over 70 publications, concentrating on cognitive science and AI, including Chaotic Logic, Creating Internet Intelligence, Artificial General Intelligence (edited with Cassio Pennachin), and The Hidden Pattern, and is the chief science officer and acting CEO of Novamente, a software company aimed at creating applications in the area of natural language question-answering. At the 2007 Singularity Summit, he discussed the current prototype work involved in the release of intelligent agents controlled by the Novamente AI Engine in Second Life and other virtual worlds.