AI-Based Virtual Child Plays in Second Life

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This is how it always begins in the movies.  Some well-meaning scientist-geeks create an artificial intelligence, and set it loose to see how it learns and behaves.  Next thing we know, he’s taken over the nuke launchers and threatens humanity unless someone brings him an ice cream cone.  In this case, the AI was built at Rensselaer Polytechnic, and gets to play in the Second Life MMORPG.

The child is a product of logic-based artificial intelligence and complex modeling techniques, and operates on what has been said to be the most powerful university-based supercomputing system in the world… Eddie has his own set of beliefs, and the ability to reason about his beliefs to draw conclusions in a manner that matches human children his age.

The beneficent goal of the project is to create advanced AIs for training simulations and entertainment.

The apps, frankly, are endless," Bringsjord said. "Imagine being able to step into a simulation environment in which you interact with synthetic characters as sophisticated as those seen in Star Trek’s holodeck."

"It’s one thing to read about trauma scenarios as a first responder; it would be quite another if you could enter a simulation in which, courtesy of synthetic characters at the level we seek, you could strive to get a disaster under control, with the look and feel of the real world."

Okay, the Star Trek reference was a bad idea.  How many Next Gen fans out there will jump to point out all the really bad things that went wrong because of a glitch in the holodeck’s AI?  Of course, if you put the program into an android body and give it the face of Haley Joel Osment, then it’ll all be okay, right?

Link to the story in ITNews. Hat-tip to Z.

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