Scientists teach machines to hunt and kill humans — in Doom deathmatch mode

by admin September 21, 2016 at 11:26 pm

You know how sometimes you look at a piece of research and think “I suppose it’s an interesting technical problem, but isn’t teaching an AI to hunt and kill humans a pursuit fundamentally dangerous to the continued existence of mankind?”

This is one of those times.

Some traitors to the species at Carnegie Mellon have applied the ever-applicable neural network approach to create an AI that is literally a killing machine. Or perhaps I should say fragging machine, since it’s only doing the killing in a Doom deathmatch. Now, you can of course say it doesn’t count since the death is virtual, but why should that matter? To computers, everything is virtual. Think about it.

You have a question: How does this differ from the bots we’ve had in games since forever? Computer players have been around forever!

You are an acute observer, reader, but consider: those bots are programs running within the game itself, aware of all the variables, coordinates, edges, the locations and specs of guns and health kits. Like any non-player character, they are programmed to act in certain ways in reaction to certain in-game variables.

The AI created by Guillaume Lample and Devendra Singh Chaplot plays the game the way we humans play: by looking at the screen, identifying our character’s situation and orientation, finding our way around the map, and shooting at anything that moves. It’s essentially a level up from the AIs that use similar methods to learn the methods governing simpler games, like Space Invaders, and find the inputs that maximize score in those.

Here it is in action: