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View Full Version : I, for one, welcome our new zergling rushing robot overlords


Don Zeko
01-20-2011, 01:04 PM
One doesn't have to be much of a robot (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGoi1MSGu64) rebellion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eajuMYNYtuY) alarmist to think that this is a terrible idea. (http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2011/01/skynet-meets-the-swarm-how-the-berkeley-overmind-won-the-2010-starcraft-ai-competition.ars/)

We’re gathered in a conference room on the Berkeley campus, the detritus of a LAN party scattered around us. The table is covered with computers and pizza, and there’s a game of StarCraft projected on the screen. Oriol Vinyals, a PhD student in computer science, is commanding the Terran army in a life-or-death battle against the forces of the Zerg Swarm.

Oriol is very good—one-time World Cyber Games competitor, number 1 in Spain, top 16 in Europe good. But his situation now is precarious: his goliath walkers are holding off the Zerg’s flying mutalisks, but they can’t be everywhere at once. The Zerg player is crafty, retreating in the face of superior firepower but never going far, picking off targets of opportunity and applying constant pressure.

Then Oriol makes a mistake. He moves his goliaths slightly out of position, just for a few seconds. It’s enough. The mutalisks react instantly, streaming through the gap in his defenses and making straight for his vulnerable workers. By the time Oriol brings the goliaths back to drive off the mutalisks, his workers are wiped out and his resource production is crippled.

Oriol makes a desperate, last-ditch attack on the Zerg base, trying to break through before the mutalisks are reinforced, but it’s too late. One after another, his goliaths get ripped apart by the Zerg defenses. As a new wave of mutalisks emerges from the Zerg hatcheries, he has no choice but to concede—to the computerized AI that just defeated him.

AemJeff
01-20-2011, 01:17 PM
One doesn't have to be much of a robot (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGoi1MSGu64) rebellion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eajuMYNYtuY) alarmist to think that this is a terrible idea. (http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2011/01/skynet-meets-the-swarm-how-the-berkeley-overmind-won-the-2010-starcraft-ai-competition.ars/)

Is something that's inevitable really describable as a "terrible idea"? (Or even a "good" one?) There's no way this sort of inquiry and testing doesn't occur, given the current technological state of development and the general Zeitgeist. (I mean there's no real need to explicate your "SkyNet" reference, is there?) I'm as afraid of "gray goo" and/or apocalyptic technological outcomes as anybody, but we're certainly best off if we deeply understand what new technologies imply, rather than engaging in futile attempt to just not go there.

Don Zeko
01-20-2011, 01:40 PM
Is something that's inevitable really describable as a "terrible idea"? (Or even a "good" one?) There's no way this sort of inquiry and testing doesn't occur, given the current technological state of development and the general Zeitgeist. (I mean there's no real need to explicate your "SkyNet" reference, is there?) I'm as afraid of "gray goo" and/or apocalyptic technological outcomes as anybody, but we're certainly best off if we deeply understand what new technologies imply, rather than engaging in futile attempt to just not go there.

My tongue was firmly lodged in my cheek for the entirety of my post. I don't think we actually need to worry about robot rebellions. But they are a fun sci-fi trope, and if we do need to worry about them, then teaching them to wargame seems like a particularly risky endeavor. Oh, and my extraneous links were just meant to be fun. Are you familiar with the Flight of the Conchords song?

JonIrenicus
01-21-2011, 04:45 AM
I just got done with a week long season 2-4 battlestar galactica viewing on netflix streaming...

Too soon to hear anything about more robots.