l2p, AI.
August 20, 2013 1:08 PM   Subscribe

In April, we covered an AI that learns to play NES games. Youtube user suckerpinch has returned with a new video that provides a bit more info about LearnFun and PlayFun, and much more footage of it doing okay at video games.
posted by Going To Maine (18 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
To clarify: the "it" in the post refers to PlayFun. LearnFun learns the model, PlayFun plays the game. Sorry for the grammar issue.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:22 PM on August 20, 2013

This FPP is useless without a download link for douchetrade 3.1.
posted by 256 at 1:26 PM on August 20, 2013 [6 favorites]

back to the learnymines with you until you can defeat cutman.
posted by boo_radley at 1:27 PM on August 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

That first video was one of the funniest things I ever saw. I can't wait to watch this one.
posted by DU at 1:40 PM on August 20, 2013

I thought this was pretty neat last time, but in this one, he addresses fears of this turning into Skynet within the first two minutes, which apparently means I am the the dumbed down YouTube audience he was shooting for this time around.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:52 PM on August 20, 2013

Obviously this is not going to become Skynet. But in terms of functioning as an illustration of the weird ways in which computers can solve problems, it's interesting and even a little bit chilling if you think about the consequences.

I recall in the original demo, once it came to grips with the "basics" of Mario, it routinely exploited a bug in the Mario code that allows Mario to bounce off enemies in midair when both the player character and enemy are falling (or something) -- it's a maneuver that a very skilled human player could pull off some of the time, but generally would be so risky it wouldn't be worth doing. The computer, however, has direct programmatic control over the game inputs, so the precise timing and control necessary to exploit the bug is completely trivial once it knows the bug is there to be exploited.

And of course the computer isn't aware -- it doesn't "know" anything. It's just manipulating input states in ways it's learned will result in a desirable increase in the value stored in certain memory locations.

But if you think about a much more sophisticated intelligence or pseudo-intelligence that's learning how to manipulate the people around it -- it's just trying to achieve some arbitrary end state, and it's learned that using a linear electric motor to vibrate air in certain very particular patterns will cause a human to do what it needs that human to do (although of course it doesn't know what a "human" is) -- this is basically the nature of the intelligence in Peter Watts's Blindsight, one of the most fascinating and chilling SF novels I've ever read.

The intelligence in Blindsight was the first thing I thought about when I saw suckerpunch's AI effortlessly exploiting the Mario bug, and I immediately started to wonder what bugs there are in my own neural wiring that a sufficiently clever piece of software could use to shut me down.

If the robots ever go to war against us, it's going to be like this game of Mario. First it will be laughable, and then, all of a sudden, it will be over, and we'll probably never even know what happened.
posted by Sokka shot first at 2:22 PM on August 20, 2013 [20 favorites]

I love that he's acting out the idiosyncrasies of the AI with props. I wish I could call it method programming, but that's not what methods mean in programming.
posted by oceanjesse at 2:46 PM on August 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I want to see Playfun go to town on optimizing Reddit vote-gettiing using nothing but a keyboard and mouse for inputs, and ShitRedditSays as the training set.
posted by oceanjesse at 2:50 PM on August 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

These videos make me inexplicably happy.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:56 PM on August 20, 2013

...burning through the futures until one randomly comes along that looks good...then unpauses and executes that good future...

This turn of phrase quoted in the last thread suggests that while this might not lead to Skynet, it is at least distantly related to how Banks imagined many of the Culture's Minds occupying themselves.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:42 PM on August 20, 2013

And there I wondered why my browser thought I'd visited that link. I still love the idea of the programme looking at possible futures and choosing one by manipulating the RNG. It's very Dune.
posted by ersatz at 3:51 PM on August 20, 2013

Oh god, the name screen in Zelda. I'm dying already.
posted by cortex at 3:51 PM on August 20, 2013

That "Fistin' Honda" passes without comment is a bit of a shame, though.
posted by cortex at 3:56 PM on August 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

omg the re-creation of stockbrokering
posted by DU at 4:30 PM on August 20, 2013

The SkyMall was a nice touch.
posted by Mike Smith at 4:40 PM on August 20, 2013

Playfun gets stabbier and stabbier. LOL.
posted by hot_monster at 8:23 PM on August 20, 2013

What is the snark justification status of making fun observational comedy style, with props even, of a thing you yourself made?
posted by JHarris at 2:36 AM on August 21, 2013

As he says in the first video, there are a lot of ways to beat videogames and the best one is probably just to play it. He's not trying to beat the game, he's just going for an aesthetic, and I guess the aesthetic here is "omg that was hilariously stupid".
posted by DU at 4:16 AM on August 21, 2013

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