Neurotic AI has video game edge

Austrian AI researchers wanted to find out whether giving an ‘autonomous agent’ emotion-like reactions would make it more successful at playing a fight-to-the-death strategy game. It turns out, neurotic bots have the edge when it comes to video game war.

The study was designed by the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence and was presented at an AI conference in Paris. Luckily for us, they’ve just put their slides online as a pdf file.

They used the popular strategy game Age of Mythology and created four software ‘bots’ to play the computer which were loosely based on the ‘big five‘ personality traits.

When they compared their successes, the version designed to simulate ‘neurotic’ personality traits came equal first in number of games won, but was the clear winner when the average time to victory was compared.

It was deliberately designed to overestimate the value of current resources and had a tendency to resort to extreme playing styles – tending at times towards aggressive play, and at other times, overly defensive strategies.

The research team note that human players typically only face computer opponents that act ‘rationally’, and suggest that simulating ’emotions’ may make playing computers more realistic, potentially more challenging, and distinctly more fun.

Link to NewSci Tech Blog piece on the research.
pdf of research presentation.

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