Microsoft has come up with another idea. This one? Project AIX. This project will be teaching artificial intelligence or, AI, how to make human based decision making. The tool that they’re using to teach their AI is none other than Minecraft. Millions of kids and even adults have the game on their console, their tablets, or both
. Because Minecraft is basically a learning process game, the idea is that because a human can sit down and learn the nuances of the game, and AI should be able to do the same thing. Microsoft is going to have their AI do what nearly all of us do when starting a new game. The AI will be tossed in head first and have to figure it out. The AI will be given no goals and no instructions. The hope is that the AI will learn and figure it all out as it goes; just like a human. As if that weren’t challenging enough, picture handing a 5-year-old child a Xbox controller and saying, “figure it out”. The child has no idea how to climb hills, or know to avoid lava, or even grasp the good and bad between daylight and darkness in the game.
Microsoft doesn’t want to begin with a computer that already knows how to play a game and see how well it does. They want their AI to learn to play the game all by itself. Impressive stuff. Now, if you’re sitting back and muttering that Minecraft can’t be that hard, you’ve clearly never played survival mode on Minecraft. Some of you have had your kids beg you to play the game and you rolled your eyes and said, “no way”. The game is more challenging than you think. If you’re a beginner, you’re going to die. A lot.
The AIX platform is basically a mod with a code attached to allow the AI to sense and respond within the game. The hope is to push computers into a higher level of general intelligence. Their idea, more than likely, stemming from the Education Edition of Minecraft that was released to kids. Right now, the project is in closed Beta, but may be available at some point this summer. It will be able to run across Windows, OS X, and Linux.