Computers Teach Each Other To Play Games: The First Step to Skynet

Computers may be stupid - but they're getting smarter...through games.

If you've ever put the wrong semicolon somewhere in a piece of code, you probably already know that computers are only as smart as we make them. The same thing goes for robots, which are "very dumb" according to Matthew Taylor - a robot specialist from Washington State University. 

The main problem is that robots - even advanced robots - are easily confused and simply stop working when they don't know what to do. Taylor and a team of specialists from WSU have been working on ways to help computers learn and in their latest experiment, teach each other.

The Experiment

In their most recent experiment, Taylor had computers work in Student/Teacher pairs to teach each other Ms. Pacman and Starcraft.

In the end, the "student" computers ended up surpassing the "teaching" computers in terms of gaming skills - proof that computers can both teach and learn from each other. 

Is this the first step on the slippery slope to Skynet? Most likely.  Computers will only get better at giving each other advice.

“We designed algorithms for advice giving, and we are trying to figure out when our advice makes the biggest difference."

If the computers are only able to master Ms. Pacman and Starcraft then I still think we're fairly safe from Robot Overlords for the time being. My fervent hope is that somehow this project brings about this adorable guy (and he decides to use his powers for good and not evil).

Published Apr. 8th 2014
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