Fourth Industrial Revolution

Gamers, brain waves and AI: The future of U.S. military?

A boy who was addicted to the internet, has his brain scanned for research purposes at Daxing Internet Addiction Treatment Center in Beijing February 22, 2014.  As growing numbers of young people in China immerse themselves in the cyber world, spending hours playing games online, worried parents are increasingly turning to boot camps to crush addiction. Military-style boot camps, designed to wean young people off their addiction to the internet, number as many as 250 in China alone Tech technology science chemistry biology physics electricity electric power battery charge positive negative lab laboratory scientist fourth industrial revolution volt voltage change progress advancement power new revolutionary robot robotics ai artificial intelligence machine learning

A brainwave? Image: REUTERS/Kim Kyun-Hoon

Kristin Houser
Writer, Futurism
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High Stakes

A team of artificial intelligence researchers at the University at Buffalo plans to study the brain waves and eye movements of around 25 people, Digital Trends reports, while they play a video game.

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They’ll then use the information they glean from the gamers to build an advanced AI — so that it can then coordinate the actions of entire fleets of autonomous military robots.

Play On

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — better known as DARPA — has awarded the UB team a $316,000 grant for the study, which researcher Souma Chowdhury told Digital Trends is moving at “a pretty aggressive pace.”

The team still needs to gather the gamer data, but that shouldn’t take too long. The researchers have already built a real-time strategy game for the study, with a round of the game taking about five to 10 minutes to complete. If each of the gamers plays six or seven games, Chowdhury expects the team will have enough data to train its AI.

Intelligent Swarm

Ultimately, the researchers hope to end up with an AI that can guide the actions of groups of 250 robots on the ground and in the air, giving the fleet the ability to autonomously navigate unpredictable environments.

“Humans can come up with very unique strategies that an AI might not ever learn,” Chowdhury told Digital Trends. “A lot of the hype we see in AI are in applications that are relatively deterministic environments. But in terms of contextual reasoning in a real environment to get stuff done? That’s still at a nascent stage.”

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