Intelligently Artificial

The games we play could be better. Make it so.

Articles of Interest

A slow, evolutionary acretion of articles related to aspects of gaming discussed on the blog.  I’ll attempt to categorize them and provide a brief annotation for each.  If you have a suggestion for other articles you would like to see included just leave a comment and I’ll check it out.

Artificial Intelligence

Thanks to Incanter for the initial crop of articles in this category.

The Singularity and the Fixed Point: The Importance of Engineering Motivation into Intelligence.” Edward Boyden.  From MIT’s Technology Review.  While the goal of much practical and theoretical AI design work has been to create machines so intelligent that they will be able to make machines more intelligent than themslves.  Boyden argues that intelligence itself is insufficient without motivation.  “Indeed, a really advanced intelligence, improperly motivated, might realize the impermanence of all things, calculate that the sun will burn out in a few billion years, and decide to play video games for the remainder of its existence. . .”  Added 10/27/2009.

“Two AI Pioneers, Two Bizarre Suicides.  What Really Happened?” David Kushner. Wired 16.02.  Chris McKinstry and Pushpinder Singh pursued very different theoretical paths in relation to the development of machine intelligence in very different settings.  Yet the two men gassed themselves within four weeks of one another.  Added 10/27/2009.

“Why AI failed: The Last 10 Years.” Pushpinder Singh.  This short note is ancient in web terms (1996) but the clarity of the analysis is still striking today.  Some of Singh’s charges–that AI development is saddled with “physics envy” and that despite being the ultimate software problem many researchers are spending inordinate amounts of time building robots–still seem to ring true today.  I would, however, appreciate input from someone with a great deal more knowledge of the contemporary AI field concerning how applicable Singh’s observations are today.  Added 10/27/2009.

Parsing the Turing Test: Philosophical and Methodological Issues in the Quest for the Thinking Computer.  Ed. Epstein, Roberts, and Beber.  Springer, 2008.  The book looks fascinating, but at over $200 you might want to check out your local library.  The Amazon Kindle edition, however, is only $63, and as a means of avoiding the foreclosure-inducing pricing of publishers of technical books the Kindle is starting to look pretty good.

Economic and Legal Issues

Massively Multiplayer Online Fraud: Why the Introduction of Real World Law in a Virtual Context is Good for Everyone.”  Ethan E. White.  Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property.  6.2 (Spring 2008).  Outlines the basis of real-world property rights and argues that these same rights exist in MMOGs.  Notes that while many game EULAs prohibit player ownership of items (and more draconian ones like that for EVE even prohibit player “interest in the value of your time spent playing”) that there may still be adequate grounds for real-world action against the perpetrators of virtual fraud.  Ends with an argument for increasing corporate involvement in game worlds which depends on an analogy between MMOGs and television.

Gaming Technology

“3-D Gaming is Waiting for Its Avatar. Chris Kohler.  Wired.   January 22, 2010.  Even though games already make extensive use of 3D rendering engines, the article predicts a slow development curve for 3D games and an even slower adoption by the public.  Kohler notes that 3D tends to expose many of the tricks that artists currently use (matte paintings, grass on the alpha plane).   Of course, the gaming industry being what it is, the obvious solution here is simply to ramp up the complexity of the rendering so that we all (3D and Vanilla gamers alike) have to buy new hardware.

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