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GoatLord

On the feasibility of believable AI in simulations and games

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Although imbuing hardware with human or superhuman-level AI stands as a longterm goal of AI research, it is not clear whether this is technically or even physically possible, owing to our profound ignorance on the nature of consciousness and whether machines can possess a state of mind. Let us then say, for the sake of argument, that it is physically and technically possible, and that it has been achieved. We would have for the first time NPCs and sidekicks that respond intelligently to a variety of situations, and are competently able to take orders from the player. But what about personality? Is that programmable, or something that can develop without human intervention?

 

Take a typical medieval RPG, for instance. You go to town, and talk to numerous characters. The authenticity of these interactions would depend on whether there's an actual history for them to drawn upon. This would include not only the accumulated experiences of their entire lives, but also of any genetic information that might affect personality, not to mention the influence of the surrounding culture. There is also genetic information that the entire species seems to share, such as newborns instinctively swimming when birthed in pools. Then there's the ancient information carried over from our pre-primate days, our single-celled organismic days, the state of our atoms before biology developed, and ultimately, the inflationary expanse and whatever caused it to occur, if there even is a cause.

 

Basically, to get one authentic conversation in a game, the entire history of the universe would need to be simulated, because the authenticity relies on modeling the human experience, which means a very long and complex history must be taken into account, since it is that history which shapes human personalities. Is there a quicker, easier way to achieve this? Who knows. What I am proposing would actually require more information than is available in the known universe. The only way around this, assuming that an entire universal history is necessary for personality simulation, would be to reduce the amount of bytes used to represent fundamental particles, since this endeavor would require a complete understanding of quantum/physical laws to be doable.

 

Edited by GoatLord

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There's physicists that theorize it's possible we have in fact advanced to a point in which we can create a simulation, and we're currently experiencing our creation.

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25 minutes ago, Flesh420 said:

There's physicists that theorize it's possible we have in fact advanced to a point in which we can create a simulation, and we're currently experiencing our creation.

Yes, that is known as simulation theory, which I think predates "The Matrix" but was no doubt amplified by its existence. The problem is, simulation theory is really just a deistic idea masked by a technological rather than supernatural explanatory model. It is a fascinating idea, but not provable except in the abstract. Pi, for instance, should not be an irrational number if we live in a simulation, since the simulation by its nature would be bound by a finite number of bytes, and thus infinities would be impossible to generate. Objectively, proving pi is rational would only tell us that there is a fundamental problem with mathematics that needs to be addressed; the idea that it validates a simulated reality is just too implicit, too far-reaching a conclusion to jump to. It ultimately has the same unfalsifiable quality that the religious notion of God has.

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26 minutes ago, GoatLord said:

You've lost me.

Dwarf Fortress procedually generates everything, and I do mean everything, including every facet of the worldbuilding and history that makes up the game space.

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What you are saying is actually really logical and brilliant . I showed this to one of my friends , and he was quite surprised and amused. 

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But just imagine when the bugs that hide within all programming kick off, it could be either amusing or a downright hardcore mind bending horror show as a simulated human mind just devolves into complete insanity before your very eyes.

 

In fact, isn't that very concept (rampancy) a very common horror trope?

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Saving and loading every NPC's mind state would take several hours. Game programming was and is about tradeoff between realistic and fast, so I dont think we will see this in near future.

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1 hour ago, NinjaLiquidator said:

Saving and loading every NPC's mind state would take several hours. Game programming was and is about tradeoff between realistic and fast, so I dont think we will see this in near future.

That depends on how we will compute information in the future. A classical computer might take hours, even if it's very powerful...but a quantum, optical or DNA computer may be able to do it instantly, at some point.

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Oooh, an interesting topic :) Some ramblings:

What are your requirements, for being able to label a conversation as authentic? Some conflicts:

1. A baby's conversation is authentic, yet it could easily be simulated.

2. A foreigner's conversation sounds like gibberish to someone that doesn't speak the language, yet it is authentic, and it could be simulated somewhat easily.

3. There's some internet bots that have fooled lots of people.

4. Some people have a very limited world knowledge, so their conversation would not include much history or worldly knowledge. It would be reduced to situational experiences, but can seem authentic.

5. Your conversations would probably sound authentic to a baby, or a foreigner, and they could probably be fooled by simple text.

 

So, let's say that we limit the definition to, say, adults, speaking the same language. In this case, does "authentic" mean "interesting"? "Competent"? "Logical?" Or does it also mean believably human? "Emotional?"

 

Part of a human belief system, related to a conversation, is in the conveying of emotional ideas, irrational thought, humor. For a machine to have these requires an ability to feel, a realization of existence, a will to live (at a bare minimum), and umpteen other things I have no idea about.

 

Context is also important. If the whole purpose of this is to have believable NPCs in a video game, you have to limit the extent of the NPC's ability to converse. You don't want the NPC to get into a religious, racial, sexual argument that could offend the gamer. You don't want to NPC to tell you how to cheat the game. And, practically, you must limit the responses, because you have to limit the number of outcomes in the game. Because, for each potential response, the programmers must change the outcome of the game accordingly, and be able to test the game, based on every possible response. This is difficult enough at the current state of AI. Imagine what it would take to make a playable game when the characters can say *anything*.

 

The other thing is, you don't want to use up all your CPU cycles having the computer generate an NPC response, when asked "What is the meaning of life?" Heh.

 

As far as PI goes, if someone can figure out how to map a true, believable virtual world, they should be able to figure out how to simulate irrational numbers. You can write a program to spit out digits of PI now, why can't a simulation do the same? It'll never finish, but neither will the "real" program.

 

It would be a shame if such a brilliant AI were thrown into some crappy video game, wouldn't it?

 

If you're really interested in creating a semi-believable talking AI, without devoting your life, and all the world's available computing power to it, check out some of these internet chat room bots. A decent system could be built without a ton of effort. It would take a bit longer than game developers want to devote, but something respectable can be built without too much difficulty.

 

You'd start with some word lists, setting properties on each word: singular/plural, noun/adverb/adjective, person/place/thing, masculine/feminine/neither, etc. Then, you'd need some grammar rules. Or, it's easier to do a MadLibs thing, where you manually create sentence fragment structures, and fill in the placeholders, such as:

 

"I saw two " {noun/plural} {verb w/ing} " over by the " {Game_Place} " yesterday."

 

This could create a sentence:
"I saw two cats sleeping over by the wood shed yesterday."

 

Of course, you'd have to develop some rules to make sure the nouns made sense with the verbs. You'd probably want to mix whole sentences with these fragments, but, with some work, you could guarantee a unique experience each time. And, this method is containable, and controllable.

 

But, if we could do what you're asking, the world would be a very different place, and video games would probably be least on anyone's mind. (Think Skynet!) I guarantee you, if this were possible, it would be used for evil at least as much as it would be used for good.

 

If you do work on this, I'd be interested in checking it out. Good luck!

 

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22 hours ago, GoatLord said:

Yes, that is known as simulation theory, which I think predates "The Matrix" but was no doubt amplified by its existence. The problem is, simulation theory is really just a deistic idea masked by a technological rather than supernatural explanatory model. It is a fascinating idea, but not provable except in the abstract. Pi, for instance, should not be an irrational number if we live in a simulation, since the simulation by its nature would be bound by a finite number of bytes, and thus infinities would be impossible to generate. Objectively, proving pi is rational would only tell us that there is a fundamental problem with mathematics that needs to be addressed; the idea that it validates a simulated reality is just too implicit, too far-reaching a conclusion to jump to. It ultimately has the same unfalsifiable quality that the religious notion of God has.

 

If an organism advanced far enough to create simulation bytes would be a laughable past.

Life and existence is purely abstract, considering we're living on a ceiling-less organic space ship floating through nothing.  Just a ball going an insane speed through "space" with meat-bags walking around and farting and bitching at each other about the meaningless of shit.  Unfortunately, the big bang suffers from the same unfalsifiable quality that religion does.

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How much processing power do you want? Do you want something that's unbeatable or do you want a fun game that makes you feel good? RPG townies are meant to give you hints, not get you involved in their real lives beyond "do this for me." How long do you want to talk with AI? Just one AI because there's a whole town of them. What about the reality of "who are you, get out of my house?" Perhaps memory of "OMG he was in so and so's house... go fuck off." That will forever be in their memory and they'll never speak to you again. Sure but you think its a game you can bribe or talk your way back in... but the reality is some people will never speak for you or just kill you on sight because you entered their home.

 

If you want real life AI you might just go to a library and start a conversation. See how far the average person wants to talk with a stranger.

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2 hours ago, Flesh420 said:

...Life and existence is purely abstract, considering we're living on a ceiling-less organic space ship floating through nothing.  Just a ball going an insane speed through "space" with meat-bags walking around and farting and bitching at each other about the meaningless of shit.  Unfortunately, the big bang suffers from the same unfalsifiable quality that religion does.

At least we *think* that's what's happening - heh heh.

 

1 hour ago, geo said:

How much processing power do you want? Do you want something that's unbeatable or do you want a fun game that makes you feel good? RPG townies are meant to give you hints, not get you involved in their real lives beyond "do this for me." How long do you want to talk with AI? Just one AI because there's a whole town of them. What about the reality of "who are you, get out of my house?" Perhaps memory of "OMG he was in so and so's house... go fuck off." That will forever be in their memory and they'll never speak to you again. Sure but you think its a game you can bribe or talk your way back in... but the reality is some people will never speak for you or just kill you on sight because you entered their home.

 

If you want real life AI you might just go to a library and start a conversation. See how far the average person wants to talk with a stranger.

Most of that is probably, typically very true, but doesn't really serve the question. And, not complete. I would think some NPCs might be interested in who you were, what you're doing, how you feel, etc. Children (which are rare as NPCs) might shy away, or bring you a toy. Some might "invite" you in out of the cold (after the fact), and provide you shelter. Some might be drunk, and ramble to you, or fight you for the fun of it.

 

All of this begs the question, again, what is the goal of this new AI? Is it just as NPCs for an RPG?

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3 minutes ago, kb1 said:

At least we *think* that's what's happening - heh heh.

 

Most of that is probably, typically very true, but doesn't really serve the question. And, not complete. I would think some NPCs might be interested in who you were, what you're doing, how you feel, etc. Children (which are rare as NPCs) might shy away, or bring you a toy. Some might "invite" you in out of the cold (after the fact), and provide you shelter. Some might be drunk, and ramble to you, or fight you for the fun of it.

 

All of this begs the question, again, what is the goal of this new AI? Is it just as NPCs for an RPG?

How many people explore every square inch of their real life town compared to Skyrm or GTA? Ever consider just stealing stuff from your real life town dumpsters or taking forks from diners?

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Wouldn't making an advanced learning but flawed A.I. be key to authenticity? That and simulating emotions affecting decision making.

 

If Humans are curious, social and think rationally but driven by emotional impulses then A.I. should learn and function the same way.

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18 hours ago, Flesh420 said:

 

If an organism advanced far enough to create simulation bytes would be a laughable past.

That depends somewhat on whether Max Planck was correct. His constants imply that there are fundamental limits regarding temperature, space and time. To put it another way, a vacuum in space can only get so cold, a cubic section of space can only be so small, and there can only be so short an increment of time. Much in the same way that light is not continuous but rather comes in "packets" we call photons, other fundamental characteristics are also quantized, implying a granular, pixelated universe as opposed to a non-discrete, infinitely smooth universe. Being that all reality can be thought of as information, it is logical to assume (if Planck is correct) that the universe could be thought of as having a countable number of bytes representing its information, with each fundamental particle's properties occupying a few bytes of data.

 

With that in mind, a computer—which is literally just an arrangement of atoms capable of performing mathematical calculations—will likely be the most common tool by which simulations are created, regardless of whether the computer's nature is electronic, quantum, biological, etc. This implies that bytes are relevant even in the context of a a Matrix-level sim. However, this is complicated by the idea that one might use their mind to generate the simulation, much as our minds generate dreams and thoughts. The causal forces responsible for the sim would be the nervous system and brain generating consciousness, but if the consciousness itself is what is generating the sim, then it is not clear whether the sim can be reduced to measurable data expressed as bytes.

 

As humans we cannot perceive extremely short periods of time, so consciousness has the intuitive quality of being smooth and continuous, which could validate your position that bytes are not relevant. But it is not clear if that's the case as consciousness itself is not open to scientific measurement, and dissections of the brain imply that there is no physical component to what we call experience. So in the end, if a sim is being generated purely within the mind, we cannot prove or disprove the notion of its contents being reducible to countable information. I suspect that consciousness is "made" of something, even if it not what we think of as physical, because it stands to reason that, given the first law of thermodynamics—an alteration of conservation of energy—then the energy required for consciousness to manifest at all has to come from somewhere, and that energy is likely reducible to bytes. 

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On 28. 8. 2017 at 10:36 PM, GoatLord said:

Basically, to get one authentic conversation in a game, the entire history of the universe would need to be simulated,

 

If "authentic" means "indistinguishable from something that experienced entire history", the entire history doesn't need to be simulated. Particularly not things that can be created in an instant by an algorithm/machine to look and behave indistinguishably from something that might have evolved over time by natural processes. With enough knowledge about reality, this could potentially be everything, to the point that no simulation would ever need to run unless somebody wanted to observe the virtual world in motion.

 

On 28. 8. 2017 at 11:27 PM, GoatLord said:

simulation by its nature would be bound by a finite number of bytes, and thus infinities would be impossible to generate.

6 hours ago, GoatLord said:

a granular, pixelated universe [...] could be thought of as having a countable number of bytes representing its information, with each fundamental particle's properties occupying a few bytes of data.

 

You are incorrectly equaling finite-ness with discrete-ness and countability. Infinitely many discrete objects can be simulated, if only by pausing the simulation upon running out of memory and unpausing it after inserting more memory into the computer, which would also be undetectable from within the simulation. Countably many elements means that every unique element can be paired with a unique natural number, and this can sometimes hold even if there are infinitely many elements - the idea is that each next element that wasn't paired with a natural number yet will be paired with the next natural number that wasn't paired with an element yet, and that's still countably many. Finally, since you keep mentioning quantum computers, their very principle (from how I understand it) is that fundamental particles can hold more information than would fit into them if each of them was only represented by a finite number of bytes.

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Those are great points, @scifista42. I have been wondering about how much of reality would need to be simulated in order to have an "authentic" conversation with an AI and perhaps you wouldn't need as much data as I was suggesting. But think about this: Let's say you go into town and talk to a stonecutter. Would he be able to tell you about his life as a stonecutter? Who his parents are, and what they're like? Does he know the town's history? Does he remember being a child? I can't help but feel that, in order to sound convincing, his entire life would have to be simulated, and it would have to keep going back and back and back until the entire town is simulated, and it goes on and on as you try to take into account all the factors that contribute to biological and cultural evolution. It's difficult to imagine being able to provide a character with a spontaneous history.

 

Also, I totally get what you mean about infinities. A simulation could just occlude whatever data is not being shown at any given time and just keep generating more universe as needed. And yeah, I didn't know that a quantum computer could hold information in that way, but it makes sense since quibits are orders of magnitude more information-efficient than binary.

Edited by GoatLord

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5 hours ago, GoatLord said:

Those are great points, @scifista42. I have been wondering about how much of reality would need to be simulated in order to have an "authentic" conversation with an AI and perhaps you wouldn't need as much data as I was suggesting. But think about this: Let's say you go into town and talk to a stonecutter. Would he be able to tell you about his life as a stonecutter? Who his parents are, and what they're like? Does he know the town's history? Does he remember being a child? I can't help but feel that, in order to sound convincing, his entire life would have to be simulated, and it would have to keep going back and back and back until the entire town is simulated, and it goes on and on as you try to take into account all the factors that contribute to biological and cultural evolution. It's difficult to imagine being able to provide a character with a spontaneous history.

As a counterpoint, think of an actor in a movie - say, a stonecutter, telling another actor about his history. The actor reads his script ahead of time, and ad-libs the rest. They do a few takes, after which, they create at least a semi-believable, convincing scene.

 

On the opposite side of the spectrum, imagine that you've created this supercomputer, and you have it simulating your experience in your garage. To be complete, it would have to simulate itself, as part of your experience. And *that* simulated simulation would need to do the same. Bam! Paradox!

 

@GoatLord I was hoping for a little feedback from you, on my sometimes lengthy responses to your questions. It's something I've put some thought into myself, over the years. Are you building a game?

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