h+ Magazine

Summer 2009..

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41 WWW.HPLusmAGAzINe.COm 41 WWW.HPLusmAGAzINe.COm 41 41 Warcraft, Guild Wars, Lineage, and everquest – to name a few. each bot is a separate instance of an AI computer program. Bots control pixilated characters that are often indistinguishable from human characters. unreal Tournament 2004 is designed to be hacked so that an AI program on a user's PC sends sensory information for a character over a network connection. Based on this information, the AI program decides what actions the character should take and issues commands causing the character to move, shoot, and talk. Project "Gamebots" at the university of southern California's Information sciences Institute "seeks to turn the game unreal Tournament into a domain for research in artifi cial intelligence." It may seem odd that a shoot-'em-up death match game might be a breeding place for machine intelligence. The Ieee symposium on Computational Intelligence and Games (CIG) took this notion seriously enough to host the fi rst ever "BotPrize" contest in December 2008 to see if a computer game-playing bot could convince a panel of expert judges that it was actually a human player. The bots competing in the death match tournament were created by teams from Australia, the Czech republic, the united states, Japan and singapore. The judges included AI experts, a game development executive, game developers, and an expert human player. A $7000 cash prize was offered to the team who could create a bot indistinguishable from a human player. How did the judging work? Well, remember the Turing Test? In 1951, Alan Turing wrote a famous paper in which he proposed a test to demonstrate machine intelligence. Often characterized as a way of dealing with the question of whether machines can think (a question that Turing considered meaningless), the "standard interpretation" of the Turing Test includes an interrogator or judge (Player C) tasked with determining which of two players (Players A and B) is a computer program and which is a human. The judge is typically limited to using responses to written questions in order to make the determination. In the case of the BotPrize, the judges actually played against the other players and then rated them. The results? You can judge the players yourself based on short clips of the game's action posted on the Internet. It's not always easy. On a scale of 0 to 4 (4 is the most human-like), the humans in the contest all scored higher than the bots (humans: 4, 3.8, 3.8, 3, 2.6; bots: 0.4, 0.8, 2, 2.2, 2.4). The winning bot team AmIs, from Charles university in Prague, managed to fool 2 out of 5 expert judges, and achieved a mean rating of 2.4. startlingly, one human competitor scored only 2.6, just two tenths higher than the winning bot. The AmIs team did not win the $7000 prize: they were unable to pass the test by fooling 4 out of 5 judges. However, they did take home $2000 for having the winning entry in the tournament. CIG's BotPrize contest is a variant on the Loebner Prize, an annual competition started by philanthropist Hugh Loebner in 1991 that challenges programmers to create a program that can pass the Turing Test. Both the CIG and the Loebner prizes have yet to be claimed. Will 2009 be the year? And will the fi rst bot to pass the Turing Test end up obliterating its opponents in unreal Tournament 2004? stay tuned. resOurCes The 2K Bot Prize http://botprize.org short clips of the game's action http://www.botprize.org/quiz.html slashdot http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/01/24/1657219 unreal Tournament 2004 http://www.unrealtournament2003.com/ut2004/ university of southern California Gamebots http://gamebots.planetunreal.gamespy.com The Appeal of Playing Online First Person shooters (FPs) http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_ citation/0/9/0/5/0/p90505_index.html Will the fi rst bot to pass the Turing Test end up obliterating its opponents in Epic Games' Unreal Tournament 2004? surfdaddy Orca is another monkey with a laptop and a cell phone waiting for Godot or the singularity or whatever comes next.

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