Sunday, March 23, 2008

DOD's "Sentient" World Simulation

Apparently the US military is looking into developing a massive simulation of the entire geopolitical canvas of the Earth, with a node representing "every man, woman and child." Although I'm sure it involves lots of data and some serious computation, I sincerely doubt the predictions made by this system will be any better than that of a seasoned human analyst.

I suppose you could turn over strategic nuclear decisions to this thing and just wait for Judgment Day...

While articles of this type are often titillating, I know from first-hand experience that most far-out projects involving the military don't live up to the hype. For one thing, the military plays fast & loose with commonly used terminology. The word "sentient" actually means something; it shouldn't be used as a vacuous buzzword designed to woo congressional funding.

Maybe they should call it WOPR 2.0?

(Sometimes I just can't help myself with the cultural reference one-liners!)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Are you smarter than a four-year old?

RPI researchers have apparently created an avatar in Second Life driven by an AI equivalent to a four-year old human child. Sounds pretty interesting, and could be a good reason to check out Second Life, although I imagine it would be difficult to locate this particular character in the "game."
Currently, the team is grappling with computational tractability issues to do with the sorting of growing amounts of knowledge that is collected as a artificially intelligent character matures.

Massive parallelism perhaps?

A possible future application of this technology could be cost-effective solutions for pesky child-labor laws for TV game shows...