The University of Tubingen in Germany's computer science department has come up with a study dubbed "Mario Lives! An Adaptive Learning AI Approach for Generating a Living and Conversing Mario Agent." We'll interpret that as "We're finding a reason to play Mario for science."
Snarky humour aside, it's an actually interesting take on cognitive modelling - feeding input into the AI and teaching it things. For instance, the AI learns that stomping on Goombas will kill them. Other interesting things the AI can be taught to do is chase after coins when it is feeling hungry.
Mario, talk to me!
How exactly does this work? Basically, researchers feed information to the AI, using a rather fun verbal communication. In the video, you can hear the researcher telling the AI things to which the AI will respond.
While it's not likely you'll be able to fire up Mario and have it attain high scores all by itself, this does mean that the possible applications of this could be extended to other games. It'd be great to see, for instance, AIs that would progressively get smarter as a game goes on, adapting to you and proving more challenging.
Or being able to teach your ingame protagonist to automatically do things - so you can munch popcorn while your programmed AI kills all the dragons for you.
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