Robot Absorbs ‘Civilization’ Manual, Goes On To Win Games
By Elizabeth Fish
For a while now, we at GeekTech have been documenting how robots are edging the human race further towards obsolescence. They can play sports better than us, clean up messes, and even make better cookies and pancakes than us. Now, robots are stepping it up a notch by not only reading books, but actually understanding and learning from them too.
Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab have been testing a robot’s ability to read, using an instruction manual for the game Civilization. The robot was then able to take what it had read in the manual and play the strategy game–and win around 80% of the time. The robot was able to understand what it read and learn from it, thanks to a machine-learning system created by MIT Labs. What’s more interesting, though, is that MIT Labs only showed the bot how to read the manual, not necessarily to use what it had read to go on to win–after all, it’s a manual, not a guide to winning. Therefore, the robot is also able to reflect on general advice and use it to its best ability.
What’s more, the researchers also tested a more advanced algorithm to compare winning statistics, but found that a robot could only win about 60% of the time.
The project’s original aim was to show how robots could understand language, but it may now also be used to make writing the codes and algorithms for against-the-computer matches much easier for programmers, as well as making it a little trickier for players to beat.
The research so far has been more the promising–not only can robots begin to think linguistically like humans, but also carry out tasks using both what it has just learned and process of elimination. While not too likely to make people obsolete just yet, our electronic friends could be useful for helping in certain jobs as well as just video games, like the medical industry.