Google has developed an artificial intelligence which is able to play, and totally defeat, dozens of classic 1980s arcade games.
The new AI is able to play the games for itself, learn which events are significant (such as, for instance, losing a life) and then adjust its strategy to improve.
Over time the AI can figure out an essentially perfect path through simple, but notoriously difficult games like Donkey Kong and Breakout.
Demis Hassabis of Google DeepMind – a British-made AI system purchased by the search giant in 2014 – said that the Deep Q network AI can do better than humans at 29 out of 49 games.
In one title – Video Pinball – the AI was 26 times better than human players. But it’s not necessarily better at every game. The study, published in Nature, said that the AI was not able to transfer learnings in one game to another, and had trouble at Ms Pac Man and Montezuma’s Revenge, because they were less predictable.
Coming so soon after the unveiling of an artificially intelligent version of Mario – which is able to not only play itself, but experience something akin to emotions while doing it – this is just another sign of some encroaching nightmare. Or just something really interesting that might make your phone better in years to come. One or the other.