By Ed Heinbockel, President and CEO, Visual Purple, LLC
I keep seeing a myriad of speculation on what Phillip Rosedale is working on within his newly founded company, The Love Machine. Out of the three projects mentioned on the company website, perhaps the third project is the most intriguing “The Brain. Can 10,000 computers become a person?” With little other information forthcoming one can only conjecture what Phillip and his team are actually up to with respect to Artificial Intelligence (AI) in virtual worlds.
The following are a few short remarks I would make on the subject: Hopefully more personality will be able to be infused into VW’s rather than just the run of the mill boring NPC’s and bots that exist out there today. Sure some NPC’s that are stationed in VW’s today provide no more stimuli to the player than talking to a brick wall. I say AI very well could be the next masterpiece to be infused into the virtual world. The caliber of content could be brought to new levels with the revelations that artificially intelligent NPC’s could bring to the table. Although many skeptics remain…Would AI in a virtual world feel more like a glorified ‘smart’ chat room? Is Artificial Intelligence really possible in a virtual world environment? Is there a real possibility of actually confusing another player that is non-human for a real human being? Will these potential AI characters actually be believable enough? Is there a timeline horizon when implementation may take place?
Sure the future of AI in virtual worlds may lie in the hands of Non-Player Characters (NPCs), but what this will actually look and play like remains unknown. This currently untapped market will more than likely see some interesting developments here in the near future. It is my belief that there are currently some covert operations of bringing AI into virtual worlds that just aren’t ready to be publicized yet. Will this new form of ‘humanoid’ be believable enough? Or will humans and AI “lifeforms” exist in the same worldly sphere. Although the inherent complexities of the virtual world are nothing like the real world it still brings a sense of awe to realize that Artificial Intelligence just may in-fact be possible, ultimately increasing the learning opportunities with virtual human interaction. We may someday ask ourselves, is that a real person or a ‘Smart’ NPC…hmmm, now wouldn’t THAT be interesting. Stay tuned…