Well now, that's nice and chilling. Yes, computers are reading now, apparently. What about? Oh, nothing really. Just a game that spans the entirety of human history and military conquest. And – thanks to some delightful MIT researchers – said computers can now absorb knowledge like sponges who can also read. But hey, at least the first step in our eventual hubris-ridden annihilation is really damn interesting.
“When the researchers augmented a machine-learning system so that it could use a player’s manual to guide the development of a game-playing strategy, its rate of victory jumped from 46 percent to 79 percent,” said a report from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab.
Apparently, the ability to read the manual's text – not necessarily its contents, but specific wordings – contributed majorly to the AI's computerized conquest, too. To be clear, all the researchers taught their progeny was how to read about Civ – not how to actually play.
“The researchers also tested a more-sophisticated machine-learning algorithm that eschewed textual input but used additional techniques to improve its performance. Even that algorithm won only 62 percent of its games,” read the report.
Obviously, this could turn traditionally lackluster videogame AIs into forces to be reckoned with. Just lay down some ground rules, let your AI give them a once (or one-million times in a minute) over, and return to find everything you know and love in ashes. Or, er, you know, videogames!