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US Army To Use MMOs For Turing Tests 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-tax-dollars-at-play dept.
Massively points out an article about new research projects for the US Army. One of the projects will evidently involve testing their AI capabilities in popular MMOs, including World of Warcraft and EVE Online. "They're working on creating 'photorealistic looking and acting human beings' that can think on their own, have emotions and talk in local slang. 'I actually interact with virtual humans in terms of asking them questions and they're responding,' Parmentola said. To test out the computer generated humans' 'humanity,' Parmentola and his researchers want to unleash some of their cyber Soldiers into so-called 'massively multi-player online games' such as World of Warcraft or Eve Online — games frequented by thousands of super-competitive human players in teams of virtual characters fighting battles that can last for days. 'We want to use the massively multi-player online game as an experimental laboratory to see if they're good enough to convince humans that they're actually human,' he said."
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US Army To Use MMOs For Turing Tests

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  • by LingNoi (1066278) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @07:42AM (#25686667)

    into so-called 'massively multi-player online games' such as World of Warcraft or Eve Online

    I read that as being "sarcastic", what else does the author of this so called, 'news post' call an MMO?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DriedClexler (814907)

      I think you misread it. The meaning in that context was, "I know many of our readers may not have heard of them, but these kinds of games are big now, and they're called ..."

      That is, it wants to acknowledge it's bringing in a new term it doesn't expect you to already know. Same as when they'd say, "he accesses the computer through a so-called 'mouse'" in 1990 :-P

    • by Kamokazi (1080091)

      Yeah, really...it doesn't get much more Massively Multiplayer than EVE. Biggest population in a single game world. (Not counting Second Life, because it's just different in too many ways).

      Also, wouldn't you think they would just get mistaken for gold farmers? Hehehe.

  • WoW (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 08, 2008 @07:42AM (#25686671)

    talk in local slang

    So they'll act like retarded 12-year olds?

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @07:43AM (#25686677) Journal

    So, how long will it be before the bots develop an Elizia test? Setup, two interactions, one a WoW player, the other a .bat file. See if you can spot the difference!

    Come on, I know AI is hard, but do you really need to lower the bar that much you have to dig a hole?

    • I do not think the goal is artificial intelligence, i think, from the description of the research, its artificial stupidity. First it will fool WoW players, then it will move on up the ladder to tests subjects like mice with cancerous brain tumors, piles of cardboard, and eventually, cocker spaniels.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @07:45AM (#25686685)

    if you want to test AI's I suggest you use adventure and puzzle games (for mature audiences, not for youth).

    MMO's are the most automated of games. They don't involve thought, they involve grinding, grinding, and more grinding.

    If they're going to use this as a metric for AI's, I think they should just buy up glider and connect its attacks to real weapons.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sargx (1402731)
      I think you missed the title of this post, let me remind you: "US Army To Use MMOs For Turing Tests." It's a turing test, not a "ken we farm Illidan test." Which is why an MMO is perfect for it.
    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @09:04AM (#25686907) Homepage

      MMO's are the most automated of games. They don't involve thought, they involve grinding, grinding, and more grinding.

      So what you're saying is, MMO's are the perfect way to train virtual soldier AI.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by wasmoke (1055116)
        Why would you say that? The reason our troops are so effective is because they can think on their feet. If a platoon commander is killed in action, the next guy down the chain of command will immediately step up and he knows what the mission is and how to get it done. It seems to me like you're thinking of the old time battles where the two opposing factions would line up on either side of a line and keep shooting at each other until one side was all dead.

        Although, I guess I am assuming you live in the U
        • by ultranova (717540)

          The reason our troops are so effective is because they can think on their feet.

          I guess that's why they're developing artificial intelligence ;).

          Besides, your army already uses robots: cruise missiles, automated defence systems, etc. "Virtual soldier" is a logical extension of this, and I can think of many uses for them, most of which revolve around the fact that they're expendable. Or wouldn't you rather send a lookalike before you if you suspect an ambush ?

          Having lots of artificial soldiers smart enough t

    • by Zephiris (788562)
      Isn't using AI to play in WoW and EVE a violation of the terms of service, besides? I'd like to see a general human-like AI conquer Portal, Fallout 3, Armed Assault, and two rounds of Mount & Blade together in a single week. Then perhaps we would let it read Slashdot! Snrk.
      • I was kinda thinking that...

        • by Sj0 (472011)

          I somehow don't think Blizzard is going to argue with the folks with nukes.

          At least, not until the zergling rush from Mexico is ready.

      • Then perhaps we would let it read Slashdot! Snrk.

        Well that would require a slightly higher line count on its core logic. Emulating a 12 year old tard won't cut it. You'll have to increase the requirement to slightly oder CS-major college boy.

        10 KILL (PORING)
        20 PRINT "Lolz!!!11!!oneone"
        30 GOTO 10

        suddenly have to be increased to

        10 PRINT "Fr1st ps0t !!!"
        15 PRINT "M$ Windoze is teh sucksorz !!!"
        20 PRINT "Natalie Portman in Soviet Russia !!!11!!oneone"
        30 GOTO 10

        See ? More lines of code required.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ArsonSmith (13997)

      Actually for AI it's the exact opposite. Puzzle games are extremely easy for a computer due to the speed at which it can calculate all possible outcomes. Trying to convince people to put together a raid in an MMO requires a minimal amount of social skills. If all you're doing is grinding then you haven't really played much.

      • Actually for AI it's the exact opposite. Puzzle games are extremely easy for a computer due to the speed at which it can calculate all possible outcomes. Trying to convince people to put together a raid in an MMO requires a minimal amount of social skills. If all you're doing is grinding then you haven't really played much.

        I am not referring to the normal "puzzle" games, i'm talking about open ended adventure style puzzle games, where the rules and points of interaction are not even known.

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      They're not looking for a macro-based grinding system. They're looking for something that can interact with real people (aside from avoiding them, which is all the macro-ratters and macro-miners and EVE will do) and, more importantly, coordinate with them. These AIs don't need to fool people into thinking they are human so much as they need to prove themselves at least as useful as a human.

      Most of the combat in EVE, at least, is highly multi-player, with individuals both acting as part of a whole and taking

  • by celendis (943833)
    ... until Blizzard cans their account for using a bot.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Blizzard won't ban a US army research project because I imagine it would be rather difficult to develop WoW2 from Gitmo..

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by plasmacutter (901737)

      ... until Blizzard cans their account for using a bot.

      Actually, I think they only ban it if it actually plays the game.

      On my server there's an AI operating in general: ironforge.

      It was there months ago, and when I logged on it was still there.

      Some schmo is obviously doing some academic research on online populations, or flame wars. The thing just talks to nobody in normal chat, spewing flamebait like "democrats suck" or "I don't kill babies, thank you very much".

      I pointed it out to a bunch of people once, and they reported it.. it's still there.

      It manages to

  • by Carbon016 (1129067) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @07:48AM (#25686695)

    'I actually interact with virtual humans in terms of asking them questions and they're responding,' Parmentola said

    US ARMY - "VIRTUAL ONLINE INTERNET GAME USING ETHERNET CONNECTIONS AND PROGRAMMING" - ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE LOG

    PARMENTOLA0WNZ: heh. are u a robot?
    SEPHIROTH112: WHAT THE HELL IS THIS TP ME BACK TO BARRENS YOUR NOT A GM
    PARMENTOLA0WNZ: my god, men. weve done it.

    LOG ENDS

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You missed out the line "anal [dirge]", repeated a coupla hundred times.
  • BTM (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 08, 2008 @07:53AM (#25686709)

    Somedays I wonder if humans playing WoW could pass the Turing Test let alone bots ...

    "HEAL PLX!" "LF3M GOT TANK BRD!" etc etc...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ArsonSmith (13997)

      The USArmy has become so good and turning humans into bots, they figured they may try turning bots into humans.

  • Intelligence ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Davemania (580154) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @08:03AM (#25686727) Journal
    You don't need intelligence let alone artificial intelligence to interact with people in those MMO games
  • good idea wrong game (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mcfatboy93 (1363705)
    i think if the military is looking for a game to use it would be halo. its exachly what the military wants exept that the n00b totaly PWNing them is a in-active sloth. they also might be able to use COD4. i think these games would better suit the military than WOW.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Umrick (151871)

      While you don't need intelligence to play MMOs, they are the best test for a program designed to interact with other people due to the range of styles of communications.

      Everything from "OMG!!!1!u sux" to "Prithee, but have ye a sledgehammer?"

      It's a question of volume in EVE or WoW. Note they aren't trying to "build a better gold farming bot" but to use it for a Turing test type situation.

    • I doubt its at all what the military wants. The reasearch has nothing to do with fps's, or combat, or video games at all, its to do with human-human interaction where the focus is not completely on language. Computers can deal with spacial information a lot easier than irregular linguistic information. I think the goal is to have them 'fool' 'people' (yes, both in quotes), without tackling the hard problem of imitating spoken language.
  • by Edward Kmett (123105) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @08:37AM (#25686817) Homepage

    In other news, Blizzard is looking forward to record profits in the coming quarters from windfall lawsuits against the government willfully violating their terms of service.

    In other other news, after reaching an agreement with the US government, the Chinese government seeks to reach similar terms to investigate Turing-complete gold farmers pointing out that gold farming is an intrinsically human activity and that a bot that could accomplish the same ends would be a great boon to society.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Tester: sup bot?
    Bot: Are you very interested in sup bot?
    Tester: what?
    Bot: I see. And how does that make you feel?

  • EVE-Online (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tibman (623933)

    I'll be honest, if i can get several million dollars worth of AI research as my gang mate, i don't care. I'd even let the thing join my corp if it could fit and fly a decent pvp ship. But the learning curve is hard for a person, i doubt a machine could do it without lots of specifics scripted in. But it's fun to speculate if it would be a highsec griefer, lowsec pirate, carebear, 0.0 nano-nut, or sit in an asteroid belt and mine all day?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...just like civilians (only with markedly fewer pacifists) who would rather play MMOs all day than be in warzones.

    I've come up with silly excuses in work before involving needing to test my product's behaviour undewr server load by running alongside an FPS etc and this is just the natural extension when the alternative is far more dire and the budget orders of magnitude greater. To the guy who wrote the convincing research proposal, bravo! The only safe government is an idle government.

  • by MrLizard (95131) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @09:51AM (#25687105)

    http://archive.gamespy.com/fargo/august03/autorpg/

  • i dont want militaristic stuff being conducted in my mmo. no tolerance there. i may corpsecamp those avatars you employ to research to the extent of being unable to interact with the game. and im sure i wont be alone in this. take your sh#t elsewhere.

    for any idiots who may err 'on the side of wisdom', i have done 1.5 years of military service, and i very well know what that sh#t is, whereas im sure most of you who read this post dont. we dont need that in our games. period.
  • by Greyfox (87712)
    I've actually accused a couple of people in MMOs of being AIs. I wonder if they were Army tardbots...
  • Mr. President, we must not allow a goldfarmer gap!

  • If the virtual human logs off WoW and starts searching the Interweb for p0rn, it passes.
  • I really really think that they'll run into the "no bots" issues presented in many games' terms. Of course, they could make a MMO for their AI bots to play on and not ever bother people playing real games.
  • See Automatic Goblin Therapist [wowinterface.com].

    It's an add-on for WoW that acts like Eliza in reply to chat from other players. The download page also has some "best-of" conversations.

  • I'm pretty sure that these MMOs would ban anyone from using a bot to play, right? It will be interesting to see if their AI can not raise flag with the cheater/fraud departments.
  • I wonder what MOS this falls under. It sure as hell wasn't there when I enlisted in August.

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