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Automated Driving 3 min read

We learn about AI through the games that we play

We learn about AI through the games that we play

Consumers learn to trust technology when they first experience it through entertainment and games. That’s where people are getting their first taste of AI, whether they know it or not.

Artificial Intelligence. Ever heard of it? While AI is among the most overanalyzed—and misunderstood—topics in the last few years, there’s no denying what impact the very idea of AI is already having on the culture.

Bill Gates says AI will help us. Stephen Hawking believes it may destroy us. But before AI saves (or enslaves) the world, it first wants to beat us at our own game. Or at least play with us.

Games have always been fertile soil for tech innovation

It’s no secret that one of the most effective ways to get consumers to accept and adopt new technology is through entertainment and games. Before the home computer explosion of the nineties, there was a generation raised on the Atari 2600 and the resulting waves of console gaming.

For more recent proof, consider the phenomenon of Pokémon Go. Millions of users roaming the streets playing the augmented reality game were also feeding the location-data platform developed by Niantic (originally used in the game Ingress).

While these games are wonderful, applying geo-tagging and location data at these kinds of massive levels can fuel innovations well beyond catching Pikachu.

Delivery and ride-hailing services. Autonomous vehicles. Managing mobile workforces.  Engineering connected infrastructures. It’s an understatement to say a wide range of technologies can—and will—benefit from the user data platforms like Pokemon as they continually collect, analyze and optimize through simple games. But what about the case of AI?

Adobe VoCo and Murphy want to make AI fun

The spectrum of apps and games that allow users to interact with machine learning principles, processes and results continues to grow and advance. Take VoCo – an Adobe tool in development that can imitate your voice after listening to you for 20 minutes.

Murphy, a chatbot from Microsoft who combines photos based on simple “what if?” questions asked by the user (what if jelly was peanut butter? What if a dog was a cat?).

The results are sometimes funny—and often surreal. But the effect is always entertaining. And with more input, VoCo grows more accurate, with every question, Murphybot continues to learn.

Over time, charming experiences with simple AI like VoCo and Murphy will enable users to gain the confidence and comfort necessary to trust AI to play a greater role in users’ lives: making appointments, managing finances—or even driving them home to a house managed by AI.

Today your games, tomorrow the world

Before AI takes over the world, it has to make users trust it to make dinner reservations. And in the meantime, while Elon Musk argues with robots, users can begin to get comfortable with a future where smart machines learn, live, work—and play—alongside real, living humans.


Haydn Sweterlitsch

Haydn Sweterlitsch

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