Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Future of Video Gaming Technology

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has invaded our cultural zeitgeist through the imaginative minds of science-fiction writers, game developers, and iconic Hollywood directors. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Buck Rogers, Star Wars, and Star Trek all invoked the concept of artificial intelligence with memorable cyborgs and space-age technology. Perhaps the most memorable action-packed AI construct to hit the big screen was T2 starring the inimitable Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator. Even more terrifying was his fearsome opponent – the mimetic polyalloy created by the fictional Skynet – which was sent back in time to defeat the Terminator.

These AI constructs utilized superior intelligence capable of morphing into humans with awesome weapons capabilities, courtesy of a liquid metal system. Of course, James Cameron and ilk have pushed the boundaries of artificial intelligence to the outer reaches of human imagination where CGI effects reign supreme. It didn’t take long before the iconic Terminator made his way to the video game arcades in the 1990s, and soon thereafter to Sega, Nintendo, and Sony PlayStation consoles. It seems game developers are equally enamored by the prospects offered through AI technology and the many cyborgs it has spawned.

From the Big Screen to the Small Screen: AI Technology Rapidly Gains Momentum 

Of course, Hollywood has since redefined the artificial intelligence genre to craft more subtle constructs such as SIMONE (Simulation One) starring Al Pacino which showcased the talents of a fictional rock star using holographic computer programming. And then of course there are of the likes of Ex Machina which perfectly blended the human form with superior intelligence instilling an iniquitous consciousness into the AI creation. That in itself has become somewhat superfluous in Tinseltown, what with screenwriters attempting to warn the public at large of the threat we face if AI constructs break free from human programming and become self-aware, sentient ‘beings’. Films like iRobot with Will Smith, and Prometheus starring Charlize Theron are cases in point.

The flurry of activity around AI excites the scientific and gaming community much more than it does Hollywood. Fortunately, AI is about so much more then self-aware cyborgs. It is technology that is used to create a faux intelligence with our gadgets, gizmos, and entertainment options. We use AI to seamlessly connect our devices online, with smart TVs, smart refrigerators, smart AC units, smart alarm systems, and autonomous vehicles to name but a few. The advances in artificial intelligence have already created a thriving entertainment industry for gamers in the form of AlphaGO from Google, FalconAI for eSports, and the creation of NPCs (Non Player Characters) in video games.

In Seattle’s University District, leading technology company NVIDIA researchers simulate robotics in a kitchen-type setting to perform rudimentary tasks that would otherwise be conducted by us. Something as simple as grabbing a box of crackers takes little to no effort on the part of a capable human being, but it’s an infinitely complex task to program a robot to do. That’s precisely what the university researchers are immersed in. Robotics and AI are often inextricably intertwined, since robots are created with the express purpose of greater efficiency and productivity. There is significant fear that robots will one day take over the world, making us their impotent subjects to do with as they please. Fortunately, that’s nothing more than gobbledygook. AI has tremendous potential, and we are seeing it right before our eyes.

AI Developments with Video Games and Computer Simulations

Artificial Intelligence has humble origins spanning decades. Back in the 1900s, a play in Czechoslovakia titled ‘R.U.R’ floated the idea of artificial beings annihilating the human race. Writers, directors, and scientists have been fascinated about the topic of consciousness in a machine. Whether it was IBM’s Deep Blue which defeated Garry Kasparov the Grand Master of chess in the 1990s, or a powerful AI program by the name of Pluribus which mastered the art of Texas Hold’em poker play – there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that tremendous attention is being given to AI technology and the gaming world. If AI technology is capable of strategic thought, rational decision-making, and reasoning beyond that which humans are capable of, perhaps we do need to raise the alarm bells.

Tech-savvy players actually crave the implementation of AI technology in their gaming pursuits. AI is seamlessly melding across industries, blurring the lines between sci-fi and everyday activities. We see it unfolding before our eyes, with collaborations between different industries such as DNA sequencing companies (Ancestry.com) and online music platforms like Spotify. On the gaming front, there is lots to be proud of. Top-tier video games like Resident Evil 6 And Assassins Creed 3 required the intellectual know-how of hundreds of game designers, developers, and software programmers. Had these games been crafted using AI technology, a more streamlined process would certainly have been possible. Nowadays, game developers are tapping into bots to create video games with compelling storylines, real-world settings, and powerful weaponry. AI can certainly add an entirely new realm to the multiplayer gaming scene, and developments are certainly possible across the gaming spectrum with bots for videoslots, RPGs, SNGs, and MTTs.

Non Player Characters (NPCs) have been around for quite some time. These ‘static’ characters tend to hang around in the background, interacting loosely with the main characters in predefined activities. Nowadays, AI technology is removing the predictability components of NPCs and making their behaviors impossible to anticipate. One such game that showcases this spectacularly well is Alien Isolation. This video game pits humans against alien invaders which are governed by unique bots. This game is overseen by a human Director AI which is fully cognizant of where the human and the alien are in relation to one another. Instructions are fed to the alien via the software to create tension, excitement, or anxiety through artificial intelligence technology. The game has become a runaway success, with millions of copies sold globally. We see evidence of AI in the gaming world across the spectrum. From the interactive communications between players and on-screen characters to the unique experiences that are generated through simulated activity.

AI Bots for Improved Performance in Video Gaming

The universally popular League of Legends has been utilizing AI technology for quite some time. A tool crafted by FalconAI – SenpAI – helps eSports enthusiasts in League of Legends to maximize their skills by learning from prior actions and suggesting how players can improve their win rates through improved gameplay. Not to be confused with the other senpai which is simply an informal way of trying to get someone else’s attention either as a friend, or as a romantic interest. The AI version of SenpAI interacts with a much broader environment and unifies information from different types of sources to create greater interactivity, understanding, and productivity. This is particularly useful in eSports for coaching purposes and improving your gameplay through careful study of analytics (analysis of strengths and weaknesses), with advanced match statistics, guided video lessons, and 2D replays and event timelines. Such is the advancement in AI analytics software, that the gaming industry is currently undergoing a paradigm shift for the better.