Artificial Intelligence in Video Games

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Artificial Intelligence and Its Use in Games

Robert Beaird
10/10/08
As long as computer games have been made, there has been a desire and demand for smarter, faster, and better artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence, which is often referred to as “AI,” is “[…] the mimicking of human thought and cognitive processes to solve complex problems.” [1] In the case of games, this would mean various tasks involving problem solving and reacting to the input of the user in order to create a realistic environment. Many of the methods used to create the correct behavior of the computer involve the use of high-level artificial intelligence, also known as strong artificial intelligence. The purpose of strong artificial intelligence is to imitate more complex human thoughts and actions. These high-level artificial intelligence systems are used to create more realistic environments within games.

John McCarthy, who originally used the phrase in 1956, defines artificial intelligence as, “[…] the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs. It is related to the similar task of using computers to understand human intelligence, but artificial intelligence does not have to confine itself to methods that are biologically observable.”[2] Artificial intelligence is a means for having a machine operate in a manner that would normally require a human to make decisions as the task is being done. The applications of artificial intelligence can range from the mundane, such as in manufacturing, to the very impractical, such as video games or theoretical and philosophical applications like the Turing Test.

The field of artificial intelligence first came to be in the early 1940’s, even though the phrase was not coined until later in 1956. Alan Turing, in his paper, “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem,” theorized that any form of computation, such as decisions made by a human brain, could be made digitally.[3] Seven years later, in 1943, Warren McCulloch & Walter Pitts published "A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity." In this experiment they analyzed networks of artificial neurons and displayed how this might be used to make simple decisions. This laid the initial foundation of what is called a neural network, which is a core aspect of higher level artificial intelligence.

In 1950, Alan Turing authored a paper called “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.”[4] In this he argued that machines were, in fact, capable of conscious thought. He explained this by using what he called “intelligence by imitation,” by which Turing argues that imitation of human thought is an example of equal-level thinking. The system used to test this is commonly known as the Turing Test. In his paper, this test is used for one primary purpose – to see whether or not machines can think, a fundamental concept of strong artificial intelligence.

Turing’s imitation test is the foundation of his theory that machines are capable of thinking. First, he presents three individuals – one male, one female, and an interrogator. The interrogator will ask one of the other two people (lets say the man) questions which they will try to answer in a manner in which they will try to make the interrogator believe that he is the woman. The woman, in turn, will try her best to disprove the man while answering the same questions. Turing’s idea is that if the man can answer the questions convincingly enough to make interrogator believe that he is the woman, than he can essentially think in the same manner as the woman. The real test then comes when you replace the man with a computer. Can it answer in the same manner as a person?

To start off, let’s say the woman is an engineer, mathematician, etc. – any sort of person who is more math and science oriented. First the interrogator would ask her a mathematical...
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