Robots being taught to hunt and kill

22 Sep 2016 | By Ramya

In an attempt to make machines behave more like humans, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University developed an Artificial Intelligence that can hunt and kill humans - virtually.

The researchers taught the robot to defeat and kill enemies in the 1993 first-person shooter game Doom's deathmatch mode.

Guillaume Lample and Devendra Singh Chaplot created the "killing machine" AI by applying the neural network approach.

In context: Teaching AI machines to kill

IntroductionWhat is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an interesting branch of computer science that is constantly and actively changing and developing.

AI is the intelligence exhibited by machines and is applied when a machine mimics cognitive functions associated with human minds like learning and problem solving.

An ideal "intelligent" machine is a rational agent that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chances of success.

22 Sep 2016Robots being taught to hunt and kill

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First-Person-Shooting game in a 3D environment

Researchers said, "Previous methods have usually been applied to 2D environments. We tackle the task of playing a First-Person-Shooting (FPS) game in a 3D environment. It involves a wide variety of skills, such as navigating through a map, collecting items, recognizing and fighting enemies, etc."
AI plays Doom the way humans play

DoomAI plays Doom the way humans play

The AI created by the scientists can play the Doom game just the way humans play.

It can look at the screen to identify the character's situation and orientation.

It can find its own way around the map and also shoot at anything that moves.

It is different from bots programmed to play games using learning methods that find inputs to maximize scores.

TrainingRobots trained mostly on pixel data

The researchers trained the machine mostly on pixel data - what is actually seen on the screen.

The creators, however, had to cheat a bit by giving the robot a basic insight from the game engine on whether there was an item/enemy on screen.

The bot received encouragement for moving a lot, picking up items, racking up kills but was reprimanded for dying.

Firing indiscriminately

The scientists had to lightly rap the robot's wrist for it to shoot at someone. Otherwise, the robot had started firing indiscriminately. The robot's best technique is that it waits for the enemies to get into its crosshairs.
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GameplayTwo different games, simultaneously

Doom is split into two separate games for the developed AI to play, at all times.

The first game involves navigating the game environment and searching for items.

The second game involves dealing with and killing enemies it can find.

The machine was initially trained to navigate empty maps; gradually, rewards for finding things and penalties for stepping on lava were added in later.

Overpowering?The great terror of AI, realized

The advanced AI outperformed humans in singleplayer as well as multiplayer Doom deathmatches.

Though it is a significant development in the AI space, many worry if super-intelligent, killer AI robots will pick up guns and pose a threat to humanity by shooting at "enemies".

Expert findings suggest that human-level AI will be attained 10% by 2022, 50% by 2040, and 90% by 2075.