Reality is a Game

Game thinking from Adam Clare

Tag: lecture(Page 1 of 3)

Another Quick Glance At Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming better with every passing year and thus more interesting. I have no idea what the state of AI will be in years to come but for now, this is some noteworthy stuff for game makers.

Emergent AI

“You work for it” when you create emergent AI. in This talk Ben Sunshine-Hill explores what it’s like to create and work with emergent artificial intelligences.

To hear Sunshine-Hill tell it, you should aim to design AI that behaves just like people and creatures in real life do, and that means you shouldn’t rely on “emergence” as a crutch; you should know exactly why your AI does what it does. At best, players should find your AI believable — not surprising.

Artificial Intelligence Research in Games

The first in a multi-part series of public lectures on AI in games. Recorded on 20th October 2014 at the University of Derby.

In this first video, we detail some of the most interesting work in using video games as benchmarks within the AI research community. This is largely focussed on four competition benchmarks:

– The Ms. Pac-Man Competition
– The Mario AI Competition
– The 2K BotPrize
– The Starcraft AI Competition

What if AIs are more trustworthy than humans?

In this keynote session, Bitcoin developer Mike Hearn talks on the topic ”Fighting for the right to be ruled by machines”. He outlines a possible scenario over the next 50 years, in which an ever worsening political situation results in some people deciding that only computers/robots can be trusted to control the critical infrastructure of society (cars, planes, mobile networks, legal systems etc) and therefore that the people currently in charge of them need to be evicted from those positions of power.

If all of this talk about artificial intelligence gets you thinking then you should check out the Experimental AI in Games workshop at AIIDE 2015 which is just a few months away. Their accepted papers include Would You Look At That! Vision-Driven Procedural Level Design and An Algorithmic Approach to Decorative Content Placement.

Previously I posted about other conferences about artificial intelligence.

DiGRA 2015 Keynote Presentations

DiGRA runs a conference ever year investigation the world of gaming. The DiGRA 2015 conference was themed around the diversity of play and they recently put the keynotes online.

Two presentations were particularly interesting and I figured I’d share them here.

This first talk is actually the final one of the conference. He says that games are framed uncertainties and explores that concept in a rather intriguing way. He actually asks the question “what makes this madness so enjoyable?”

DiGRA2015 – KEYNOTE – Markus Rautzenberg – Ludic Epistemology in an Age of new Essentialisms from Centre for Digital Cultures on Vimeo.

Markus Rautzenberg “Ludic Epistemology in an Age of new Essentialisms”
Markus Rautzenberg is a German philosopher currently working at Freie Universität Berlin. In 2007 he received his doctorate degree in philosophy with a thesis on a ‘Theory of Perturbation’. He received a DFG-doctoral scholarship at the graduate school ‘The Staging of the Body’ and a DFG-postdoctoral fellowship at the international graduate school ‘Interart’. His main fields of research are media theory, picture theory, aesthetics, the relation of iconicity and knowledge, epistemology and game studies.

In this next talk I really like the connection between delivering narrative while having cohesive and complementary game mechanics. I don’t agree with everything she goes into, particularly around The Stanley Parable, regardless it’s a neat presentation.

DiGRA2015 – KEYNOTE – Astrid Ensslin – Videogames as Unnatural Narratives from Centre for Digital Cultures on Vimeo.

Astrid Ensslin “Videogames as Unnatural Narratives”
Astrid Ensslin is a Professor of Digital Culture and Communication at Bangor University (UK). Her research sits at the interface between videogames and electronic literature, and she is currently running an AHRC-funded project on ‘Reading Digital Fiction’ (with Sheffield Hallam University and various non-academic organizations). Her main publications are ‘Literary Gaming’ (MIT Press, 2014), ‘The Language of Gaming’ (Palgrave, 2011) and ‘Canonizing Hypertext’ (Continuum, 2007).

You can view the rest here.

Critical Media Literacy: Beware Big Media?

I have done some volunteer work trying to encourage media literacy in the digital world and I find myself running into similar conceptual issues that existed before the world got online. There are core issues associated with large media companies influencing how we engage politics and economics and the digital world is not immune to it. This is even more true as the line between ‘traditional’ and ‘new’ media blur.

These issues I allude to can best be summed up by people smarter than me. As you watch/listen to the talks below you may say that the internet changes a lot of what’s brought up and I would agree. At the same time, the reach (and in some cases caliber) of citizen journalists is still not up to par with multinational massive media manufactures.

Michael Parenti gave a talk in 1993 that is still relevant today about how large media companies can and do influence the way we debate issues as a society. He opens with a comparison between a large American media company and the propaganda paper Pravda from the USSR; his criticism of the American media company is still relevant today.

Early on he talks about product placement and how insidious it can be, and today we don’t even bat an eye at the notion of including product placement into media production. Also, the threat of the “liberal media” was a debate back in 1993 whereas I thought it was a newer myth.

It’s worth sticking around for the questions, my favourtie was about the Exxon Valdez oil spill (think about his answer and how it compares to coverage of BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill).

Now take a moment and think about how you’re being exposed to this thanks to a blog. The future seems so different right? Not so fast.

Parenti’s lecture got me thinking of Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky’s take on the media in Manufacturing Consent which I watched in high school and is also, sadly, still pertinent to the media of today. Wikipedia has a good summation of their five key points of media control and you can watch the entire documentary below.

The Coming Civil War over General-purpose Computing

Cory Doctorow is a smart thinker when it comes to computers and how they relate to our basic rights. Over the summer he delviered a lecture titled The Coming Civil War over General-purpose Computing and it’s a fascinating look into the future of DRM (digital rights management), firmware, security, openness, and how we as a culture relate to computers.

Watch the lecture below and you may also want to check out the text version of his argument.

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