Humani: Jessie's Story
News

Humani: Jessie’s Story turns the sitcom into a chatbot game

Jessie came into my life a couple of weeks ago. She was announced by her creators at PullString at the beginning of April as part of a conversation-based narrative game called Humani: Jessie’s Story, which you play on Facebook Messenger. You only need to say “hi” to meet Jessie, who is a 20-something girl who is not only experiencing a quarter-life crisis, but also looking for a job, a boyfriend, and a new apartment — all in the same day. You go along for the ride. As Jessie gives you the lowdown on how to get to a job interview, how to find the best shared house, or how…

HOUND
News

Videogame lets you command neural networks to manipulate evolution

“It took 4400 million years for the first life to appear on Earth,” is the opening line to the website for HOUND, a recently announced game project by its 18-year-old solo creator, Nikita Shesterin. And if, on reading that, you just thought, “hang on… that’s not right,” then Shesterin believes you’re the right audience for his game. HOUND hands you a universe replete with evolving creatures and ecosystem, and then gives you the controls to fiddle. You can create a physical model, perhaps of something as simple as bacteria, and then watch it evolve into a variety of new species—billions…

Rembrandt
News

Computer algorithm mimics Rembrandt, creates his next painting

I’ve never seen The Starry Night (1899). I mean, obviously I’ve seen it. Pictures of it are everywhere; in textbooks, on t-shirts, and just about everything in between. But I’ve never actually been to MoMA and seen the physical painting The Starry Night itself. Art has been at odds with replication for centuries, all the way back to when the very earliest printing technology suddenly made art cheap enough that common (see: not rich) folk could own it. When art is no longer confined to a museum, the line between what is and isn’t art gets more and more blurry. The…

Industrial
Feature

Imagining the technological singularity with Factorio

The trouncing of the world’s top Go player by Google’s AlphaGo AI has led more than a few people to speculate on how we’ll be feeling the ramifications of this victory in the near future. What this speculation mainly concerns is the question of what will happen if software continues to eat the world with such a voracious appetite that we are only beginning to truly fathom. For now, “Big Data,” the truly massive collection of data that humans collectively generate through any and all combinations of internet browsing history, biometrics, credit card payments, and more, provides the equivalent of…

San Andreas Deer Cam
News

What the 24-hour deer cam in GTA V tells us about the game

There is a wild deer wandering the paved streets of San Andreas, the fictional city of Grand Theft Auto V (2013), freely roaming the 100 square miles of gangland and beaches. By “wild” I don’t mean that this creature is merely not of civilized society—a wild beast—I mean that it doesn’t fit in with the autonomy of the game’s programmed virtuality. Like the player might be a “wild” integer in the game’s system, chasing their own goals, operating on thoughts and desires that aren’t produced by the game’s code, so too is this deer. It is, in fact, an artificial…

minecrafthill
News

The AI being forced to climb Minecraft’s highest hills

Somewhere in Microsoft’s New York offices right now, an artificial intelligence is busy repeatedly trying and failing to climb a hill in Minecraft (2011), as if a modern day reenactment of the Sisyphus myth. This AI is being watched by a team of five computer scientists, and its many deaths are being meticulously recorded. Its name is Project AIX, and it’s part of a new open source initiative from Microsoft to advance not only games, but artificial intelligence as a whole. It’s a project not dissimilar to the one going on at Germany’s University of Tübingen entitled Social Mario, the concept of which…

mariolearning9
News

Social Mario teaches AI to learn by imitating each other

As videogames are frequently focused on having a single human player interact with dozens or even hundreds of computer-controlled characters at a time, they tend to be particularly fertile ground for development of artificial intelligence. This is why it should come as no surprise that when the Chair of Cognitive Modeling at Germany’s University of Tübingen decided to create new ways for artificial intelligence to grow and interact, they opted to do so through the lens of Nintendo’s Mario series. Dubbed Social Mario, the project’s concept is simple: Rather than reacting to players or following the scripted commands of a programmer,…

Prominence-PC-Game-Free-Download
Review

Prominence has old-school sci-fi vibes, but it’s short on story

In January 1957, J.G. Ballard first published his story “The Concentration City” (then under a different title) in a magazine called New Worlds. It takes place in a city that spans the entire universe, where streets stretch out both horizontally and vertically, with lifts and levels expanding the city infinitely in every direction. Talk of real estate doesn’t just involve two-dimensional plots of land, but is priced and measured in cubic feet, so that even the air you breathe costs money. The biggest threat to life in this city is terrorists called “pyros,” the embodiment of a violent human impulse…

Hand completing a multiple choice exam.
News

Artificial intelligence takes national exam, does better than human average

A futuristic thought experiment, Roko’s basilisk, posits that at some point in the future there may be an artificial intelligence (AI) that will retroactively punish those who knew it could one day exist and still did not help to bring about its existence. While in practice this serves more as a logic exercise than as lore that’s assumed to be true, in either case the assumption is that one day technology will be advanced enough that this could be true. high enough to have an 80% chance of admission to over 450 higher institutions While we’re still a long ways…