A Closer Look at Artificially Intelligent Super Mario

smby Angela Guess

George Dvorsky of io9 reports, “German researchers have created a version of Nintendo’s Super Mario Advance in which the videogame hero can learn and venture through the game according to his ‘feelings.’ It’s an exciting advance, but the claim that Super Mario is now ‘self-aware’ is grossly overstated… More accurately, Super Mario has been imbued with a fairly sophisticated artificial intelligence program — or more accurately, an adaptive machine learning program — that allows the bot, in conjunction with natural language processing, to learn from experience and act in accordance to an evolving set of priorities. Together, this ‘cognitive modeling’ allows Mario to move autonomously in the game in a rational and life-like way.”

Dvorsky goes on, “Mario’s so-called self-awareness is drawn from schema-based knowledge states (i.e., the storage of knowledge) and the maintenance of internal “emotive” states, which are driven not by subjective feelings (or a sense of qualia), but by fancy scripts. Both of these states can be influenced by Mario’s environment and verbal instructions directed at him… The speech recognition tool is borrowed from Carnegie Mellon, and it allows the game player to transmit instructions to Mario, and for Mario to express his “feelings” to the player. Mario’s speech generation capabilities are not scripted, but based on linguistic principles, subtext, and other factors. Conversations, rather than being understood at a conceptual level, are merely the expression of converted tags.”

Read more here.

photo credit: University of Tubingen

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