Minecraft may be one of the biggest games in the world right now. Its popularity stemming from allowing players to do almost anything. Your only limitation to what you can build is your imagination. However, it looks like the game is also going to be used for something very interesting indeed.
BBC is reporting that scientists are going to start using Minecraft to evaluate and develop AI software come July. Microsoft believes that Minecraft is perfect for this task because it’s more “sophisticated” than other AI research simulations and is cheaper to use.
“This is the state-of-the-art,” said Prof Jose Hernandez-Orallo from the Technical University of Valencia.
“At this moment there is nothing comparable, and this is just in its beginnings, so I see many possibilities for it.”
A new piece of software called AIX allows users to add an AI control code to the game and shows feedback as a character navigates the world. AIX will be open source, meaning you’ll only need to buy Minecraft to use it.
The experiments will start if separate from other players, but eventually they hope to allow people to interact with the code.
“People build amazing structures that do amazing things in Minecraft, and this allows experimenters to put in tasks that will stretch AI technology beyond its current capacity,” explained Katja Hofmann, who leads the project at Microsoft Research’s Cambridge lab in the UK.
“But eventually, we will be able to scale this up further to include tasks that allow AI agents to learn to collaborate with humans and support them in a creative manner.
“This provides a way to take AI from where it is today up to human-level intelligence, which is where we want to be, in several decades time.”
Lets just hope this isn’t what sparks off the inevitable robot uprising.