Computer Learns To Play Civilization By Reading The Instruction Manual

Starting from nothing, a computer taught itself to read the instruction manual for Civilization and saw its rate of victory jump from 46 per cent to 79 per cent.

That is according to researchers at University College London, who developed "meaning-inferring algorithms" that, when applied to the computer, took it from zero understanding of its task to winning strategic play.

The process of learning is extremely technical to describe but what happened, from the sound of it, is the machine was given a list of actions it could take, and could understand information displayed on the game screen, and then was told to carry on.

The computer began with completely random behaviour. In the trial-and-error process, different words would appear on the screen as it took actions, and then the computer could search for instances of those words in the instruction set, and for associated words in the surrounding text, and form hypotheses based on that.

In one test, a software installation, the computer was able to reproduce 80 per cent of the steps that a human would perform if they read the same instructions. In Civilization, it won 79 per cent of its games, compared to a program that won only 46 per cent without relying on instructions.

In the case of software installation, the system was able to reproduce 80 per cent of the steps that a human reading the same instructions would execute. In the case of the computer game, it won 79 per cent of the games it played, while a version that didn't rely on the written instructions won only 46 per cent.

Commence Skynet jokes now.

Machine-Learning System Learns Language by Playing Games [Kurzweil AI - thanks Steve]


Comments

    Put this in Windows 8 so it can diagnose problems and fix them itself :D

      Whooaaaa there Anonymouse!! can't do that!!! The computer would have to delete itself to install linux but them the instructions sets would be gone!!! oh the kunnundrum!!

        Delete itself to install linux? I don't think computers are masochists.

          You never know Rupert, the amount of pain I go through with servers, I would believe they are sadists!

            I don't understand why all server technicians are Linux-heads. I get that it's a better OS once you've spent the necessary weeks configuring, troubleshooting and installing/tweaking add ons, but doesn't the idea of having to do those same weeks of configuration multiple times across multiple servers give you nightmares?

    The end is nigh.

    So this means with zero understanding you can still win nearly 50% of civilisation games?

      Welcome to Civ V: The Downfall

    It's become self aware July 14 2011 at 10:30am. Where all gonna die!

    Say your goodbyes folks, I don't think we'll survive the coming year. The Mayans were RIGHT!

    What they fail to mention in the article is WHAT version of civilization game they are taking about. The first one is fairly simple and winning it 79% of the time hardly constitutes true AI. If it was Civilization V however then I would start stocking food and water and wait for the coming robopocalypse with home made EMp grenades.

    Not even proper AI, read into it more and its just random choices dictated by a score. its just basic mathematics as usual. nothing new.

      Okay, Mr. Wet Blanket, you had your fun yet? Now let the rest of us run around in circles screaming about the coming doom.

    Talk about paraphrasing a complete paragraph. Maybe you should just make the article multiple paragraphs, just saying the same thing differently...

    "In one test, a software installation, the computer was able to reproduce 80 per cent of the steps that a human would perform if they read the same instructions. In Civilization, it won 79 per cent of its games, compared to a program that won only 46 per cent without relying on instructions."

    "In the case of software installation, the system was able to reproduce 80 per cent of the steps that a human reading the same instructions would execute. In the case of the computer game, it won 79 per cent of the games it played, while a version that didn’t rely on the written instructions won only 46 per cent."

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