Microsoft uses game 'Minecraft' to develop AI

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : March 15, 2016, 14:44 | Updated : March 15, 2016, 14:44


[Courtesy of Mojang YouTube channel]

Microsoft just opened doors of the popular game "Minecraft" to artificial intelligence (AI) developers and kids who wish to learn AI.

The maker of Windows OS, and other software / hardware creator, Microsoft announced on Monday that the company will launch a project which enables researchers and developers of AI to develop their research in the game of Minecraft.

AIX- the project is called, the researchers and developers can create agents which roam Minecraft worlds, and the idea is that to make the agents behave like a normal player. Climb a hill, build, farm, hunt, and navigate through terrains and survive from the game's zombie horde.

Minecraft is the popular game among all ages and gender because of its openness. Players can literally "mine", digging down to find precious gems, create items, build houses, farm animals, and survive. The game is so open it supports simple coding inside it, providing players with some kind of automated process of game play.

“Minecraft is the perfect platform for this kind of research because it’s this very open world,” said Katja Hoffman, who is leading the project AIX, “You can do survival mode, you can do ‘build battles’ with your friends, you can do courses, you can implement our own games. This is really exciting for artificial intelligence because it allows us to create games that stretch beyond current abilities.”

Microsoft believes that the Minecraft has all the ingredients and technology to train AI agents to work in the real world. Non-gamers may think this is strange, but in Minecraft, Everything is possible.

The company wrote in its blog post “Building a robot and trying to teach it to climb a real hill is costly and impractical; unlike in Minecraft, you’d have to repair or replace the robot with another costly machine each time it fell into a river.”

Microsoft told the BBC that it wants people of all skills and ages to get involved in the AIX project, especially children since they all love Minecraft, and it would be a good opportunity for them to learn AI while playing the game.

According to Microsoft, the company is to release an open source version of AIX this coming summer.

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