Games are important tools as well as a fun distraction and hobby. They can be used to expand the mind or placate it. Games like Minecraft can be, and already are, tools for education, but could it be used to teach something that isn’t human? An AI perhaps. Microsoft seems to think so, BBC News reports.
It was recently revealed that Microsoft would be using Minecraft to host experiments to help develop and test AI software this July. Using a new piece of software called AIX, the AI code can connect to Minecraft and control a character, providing feedback to the user.
The software is already receiving a lot of praise from the small group of people who have already gotten their hands on it. With Prof Jose Hernandez-Orallo from the Technical University of Valencia talking about how much potential there is in the AIX software.
This is the state-of-the-art, at this moment there is nothing comparable, and this is just in its beginnings, so I see many possibilities for it.
Experiments will start off with the AI separated from human players; with the ultimate goal being interaction between the AI and people.
…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.
– Katja Hofmann, Project Lead at Microsoft Research’s Cambridge lab
Hofamann went on to commend Minecraft creators saying that the work they do in the game could really test the limits of the AI.
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.
Surely something as big and complex as artificial intelligence software could only be used by computer scientists and AI experts with twenty plus years in the field, but you would be wrong. According to Matthew Johnson, the principal software engineer working on AIX, the software is so simple that even children could use it.
We want people of all skills and ages to get involved.
– Matthew Johnson
The AIX software is open source and will be free to anyone who already owns Minecraft.
For more info, check out the post about AIX on Microsoft’s blog.