Sessler's Soapbox: Welcome Our Robot Overlords

Posted: February 22, 2011
Sessler's Soapbox: Welcome Our Robot Overlords
Adam discusses Watson, Deep Blue, and all the other computer A.I.s we've enjoyed competing against over the years.

Comments are Closed

  • SquarepantsMom

    My preference is for the single player game experience and co-op or multi second. The great games allow for 100% completion by gamers of all skill levels. I replay these types mutiple times, buy the strategy guides and download their extra content. I was disappointed to see Fallout Vegas have an achievement on hard mode. As much as I loved Deadspace1&2, I doubt I can complete 2 on the greatest difficulty with only 3 saves. Hope Skyrim does not add this block to completion. I want to complete Mass Effect 2 100% as well, not sure though. Just finished Fallout3 and Oblivion, now on to Half-Life2. Man vs machine, its a modern cultural angst. Marine1Ten

    Posted: April 1, 2011 9:33 AM
  • xyzobon

    Adam Sessler, he's been there, done that.
    The most intellectual popularizer of games, a most precious institution, this The Sess.
    we love you

    Posted: March 28, 2011 11:10 PM
  • V_Translanka

    I love that Adam addresses social obligation in multiplayer matchmaking. While I don't think I ever thought I was alone, it's nice to know that even someone who plays games for a living can be effected by it...

    Posted: March 14, 2011 9:48 PM
  • PassingStranger

    A lot of people tend to mistake things like chess AI as smart when, in fact, it's the intelligent-looking result of lots of simple, dumb calculations. The program just plays out hundreds of thousands of possible moves, looking however many steps deep into the game as possible on the specific hardware, and choosing the outcome that looks best for it.

    Watson is a huge step forward in terms of understanding language, but it's still just concept matching. Really, really cool concept-matching, though.

    Posted: March 1, 2011 3:00 PM
  • estaples

    "In single player you are not playing against "AI". You are playing against the game's creators who steer you down very narrow lanes of decision so as to improve their odds of providing an appropriate scripted response."

    ^ This guy explained it well enough.

    Posted: February 27, 2011 8:43 PM
  • JFireball

    Definitely agree w/ you Adam - I prefer single player. I have nothing against multi-player though - to each his own.

    Posted: February 25, 2011 1:23 PM
  • Dorkenmore

    I do appreciate the single-player side of things more-so than the multi-player options in general, but I almost have to disagree with Adam a little bit. I do see where he is coming from, besting the AI and finding satisfaction in overcoming a brilliant computer mind, but I have never really gotten that feeling from video games. Watson, for example, putting the programming aside, was built for the sake of beating the other Jeopardy opponents. It was meant to do so, but in video games, no matter how hard a game is, the game designers and programmers built the AI with the intent of humans beating that AI. You are meant to win video games, and the AI was meant to be beaten.

    That being said, every time I would beat a difficult game, it wasn't that I necessarily thought that I was overcoming brilliant AI, I had simply accomplished what was intended for me to accomplish. Technologically, I don't think that we have necessarily gotten to the point where I will feel truly tested in a video game. I appreciate single-player experiences over multi-player for other reasons, such as story, character development, game-play, and the like (and the yipping 12-year-olds on multi-player, eesh :D).

    All in all, I respect Adam's opinion and I'm really glad he finds satisfaction in overcoming the AI, but I just can't see it for myself yet.

    Posted: February 24, 2011 10:58 AM
  • Wozman23

    I love the single player experience (and local co-op) but rarely dabble in multiplayer. AI has progressed relatively quickly but there are always glitches in their routine that can be exploited given enough time to notice them.

    Computers and AI are built by humans, and thus have flaws. Although they may seem infallible, there are always ways to outsmart or trick them if you understand how they work.

    The same can be said for Watson. Although it was 99% amazing, there is always that 1% of the time where it thinks Toronto is in the US. That 1% screw up is the stuff that will get us killed if we rely too much on computers.

    Posted: February 23, 2011 10:29 AM
  • rudeboyjohn

    a well-developed view as always Mr. Sessler

    Posted: February 23, 2011 8:51 AM
  • User123123

    Adam-our man

    Posted: February 23, 2011 8:02 AM
  • sy_cred

    To be honest the human race sucks. I think machines should just take over and whipout humans. After all we are just filthy animals. Plus robots are cool.

    Posted: February 23, 2011 7:53 AM
  • eelgad

    In single player you are not playing against "AI". You are playing against the games creators who steer you down very narrow lanes of decision so as to improve their odds of providing an appropriate scripted response.
    As for Watson. Not an AI, a scripted indexing routine, and not a very good one at that.
    Deep Blue. Not an AI, more of a distillate of team effort since it was constantly reprogrammed during the match by an entire team of chess experts for any possible move its opponent could make.
    True decision making is not capable of being represented by a digital construct we live in a analog universe and digital references will always fall short.

    Posted: February 23, 2011 7:16 AM
  • abickford

    Absolutely agree. Less multi-player, and more robust games. (Fallout 3, BioShock, Mass Effect, etc.)

    Posted: February 23, 2011 7:06 AM
  • Asnoochie1

    Though I do appreciate the references to Deep Blue being something similar to Watson, I don't think Adam adequately explained the cosmic leap in AI technology we just saw with Watson.

    Deep Blue was simply a Chess computer. The rules of Chess are very clearly defined. Rooks move in straight, north/south and east/west lines, Bishops on diagonals, the Queen on both of those paths. Knights move two spaces on direction, one space at a 90 degree angle. Pawns move forward one space(unless when capturing they move on diagonals, and their first movement has an option of moving two spaces), Kings move one space at a time, unless it's first move is to castle. When the King is lost, the game is lost.

    Granted, the strategy varies greatly, and it takes what was once a great deal of processing power, but those are the only actual rules to the game, and once the processes have been made, it's just a simple recall of programming.

    The rules governing language, and understanding nuance, pun, euphemism, and subtlety are far more complex than pattern recognition. 6 pieces on an 8X8 grid, all always governed by the same rules can in no way compare to the complexity of the English language.

    I feel all will most certainly be lost not when computers self-replicate, but when they fully understand satire.

    Posted: February 23, 2011 6:08 AM
  • Thogin

    Don't get me wrong I love single player. The foundation of all games should be the single player experience. What the player feels when he is progressing through a game no matter if it's single player or multiplayer is what most important.

    The advantage of single player is you can very easy control what the user see's, fights, and etc, therefore controlling the experience. However, this control loses its power to create a memorable experience after the first time as the user remembers what will happen like an over watch movie. As games such as Dead space, RE series, Puzzle games like world of Goo, and Defense games such as plant vs. zombies. Of course most of these games gives you the incentive for playing again by giving you more weapons, making it harder, etc, however the very first experience of being shock or figuring out a puzzle is lost.

    For multi-player this single player experience is much harder to control. No matter how you control the game's elements monsters, level design, other people will give you a whole new experience every time. Some people will have very positive experiences as working with good teammates and some people will have very bad experiences with teammates that call you noob and shoot you in your back for no reason other than the cheap thrill of shooting their own teammates.

    So if people can create AI as smart/random as humans and is there to work against or with the player wouldn't that be the same as putting really good human players as support or against the player would it be much different that multiplayer now minus that trash talk and tea-bagging?

    Posted: February 23, 2011 5:12 AM
  • RandyMercer

    Wow, just wow how he pieced his entire statement together into a cohesive thought amazed me. I would have never actually related the two. Wow, Fantastic Feeback, maybe think of multi-player and Social gaming in a slightly different way.

    Posted: February 23, 2011 2:12 AM
  • beesdaddy

    love it when adam philosophizes

    Posted: February 22, 2011 9:44 PM
  • DemonXaphan

    While we would love an AI that does challenge us game wise i don't think we want one that would beat us every time as that would not make for fun gaming. Right now game AI's are pretty simple to difficult depending on the settings but not many are unpredictable in their actions.
    Don't really think we have much to worry about for now but like a previous poster said "when computers start replicating themselves" then yes we do have to worry.

    Posted: February 22, 2011 8:16 PM
  • goricky

    When I look at what computers can do now with games like chess and jeopardy, I really start to marvel at what computers may be able to accomplish in the near future. And then you look at how robotics are advancing so much and I kinda go into this trance about how the future will have technology in every aspect of our lives; but then I'm reminded that we can't even write a decent AI for Go and that I probably won't live to see our iRobot-esque society.

    Posted: February 22, 2011 7:57 PM
  • JoshLouderback

    The whole reason why people are so focused on Multiplayer games is because you actually get what you are paying for. Most single player games are just 8-12 hours of gameplay for $60 which is just ridiculous. I'll enjoy those games when they are $20-$40 because an 8-12 hour experience is not worth $60 to me. And after you beat it a couple times than it sits on your self collecting dust until you say to yourself "I kind of want to experience that game again." But until them it feels like you have just wasted money on that game. I love Fallout and Mass Effect because its this huge world that you get to explore and everytime you play it you can make different choices which develop new plot direction in the game. The single player experience I feel is dying. You don't need to make a huge open world game. But you need a game that allows you to play it a different ways everytime you play, allows your character to get to higher levels unlocking new abilities and weapons and etc... The thing is that makes multiplayer so great is when you do things you get rewarded and it further enriches the game. That is what single players should really do. If they care about their game and they care about their upcoming fans than when the players beat their game they should get rewarded with something or somethings for their next playthrough. Most games when you beat it you just get to carry your stats over and play the harder difficulties. Which yes allows you to level up and get new or better abilities. This is a great system but still add more. The more you enrich the player for completeing the game the more they are going to want to spend time on your game. Which will increase their profit because their intrest will be very peaked about this game when DLC packs come out or eventually the next game. And what about achievements! When you collect certain achievements you get avatar awards. What about unlocking some cool things in game for those people who are die hard achievement hunters for your game. Its nice when you do something and you get rewarded. Its a known fact! Everyone loves gifts! So why don't you do it! Its a simple task to do without having to overhaul a huge open world filled with tons of quest. You can turn a 8-12 hour game into a 60 hour game just like an open world game is.

    Am I right? Or am I wrong here people?

    Posted: February 22, 2011 7:25 PM