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Submission + - Create your own Monopoly to understand the world around you (

jtogel writes: "Can we use games to help people explore the massive amounts of data that are increasingly available to everyone? In a recent paper, which New Scientist write about here we describe a program that can generate Monopoly Boards from open data streams. The player selects what is important to him or her (child poverty? education? median income?) and the program uses AI methods to create a new game board. The full paper is available here."

Submission + - Human intelligence is overrated (

jtogel writes: "People often wonder when computers will become as intelligent as humans. This question assumes that being as intelligent as a human is a worthy goal for an artificial system. But really, are humans all that smart? If they are not, this has implications for how we should do AI research."

Submission + - New AI challenge is all about wanton destruction (

togelius writes: "Previous years have seen a number of car racing competitions where neural nets, rule-based systems and other fancy AI techniques have been put to the test by letting them drive on a track and seeing who gets the best lap time. Recognizing that finding the Michael Schumacher of AI is not enough, a team of researchers from University of Wuerzburg now wants to find the Mad Max of AI. Their new competition is called "Demolition Derby" and the goal is to "wreck all opponent cars by crashing into them without getting wrecked yourself". For this, they use the open-source TORCS game and a custom AI interface, allowing all and any AI researchers and enthusiasts (including you!) to submit their best and most aggressive controllers."

Submission + - Should computer games adapt to the way you play? ( 1

jtogel writes: "Many games use "rubberbanding" to adapt to your skill level, making the game harder if you're a better player and vice versa. Just think of Mario Kart and the blatantly obvious ways it punishes you if you drive too well by giving the people who are hopelessly behind super-weapons to smack you with. It's also very common to just increase the skill of the NPCs as you get better — see e.g. Oblivion. In my research group, we are working on slightly more sophisticated ways to adapt the game to you, including generating new level elements based on your playing style.

Now, the question is: is this a good thing at all? Some people would claim that adapting the game to you just rewards mediocrity (you don't get rewarded for playing well). Others would say that it restricts the freedom of expression of the game designer. But still, game players have very different skill levels and skill sets when they come to a game, and we would like to cater to them all. And if you don't see playing skill as one-dimensional, maybe it's possible to do meaningful adaptation? What sort of game adaptation would you like to see? I'm very interested in your feedback here..."

"Summit meetings tend to be like panda matings. The expectations are always high, and the results usually disappointing." -- Robert Orben