[Intelligence Seminar] September 28: Ashwin Ram, NSH 1507, 11 - "User-Generated AI for Interactive Digital Entertainment"

Noah A Smith nasmith at cs.cmu.edu
Mon Sep 21 17:15:38 EDT 2009

Joint RI/Intelligence Seminar

September 28, 2009
11 am
NSH 1507
For meetings, contact Jessica Hodgins (jkh at cs.cmu.edu).

User-Generated AI for Interactive Digital Entertainment
Ashwin Ram, Georgia Tech


User-generated content is everywhere: photos, videos, news, blogs,
art, music, and every other type of digital media on the Social Web.
Games are no exception. From strategy games to immersive virtual
worlds, game players are increasingly engaged in creating and sharing
nearly all aspects of the gaming experience: maps, quests, artifacts,
avatars, clothing, even games themselves. Yet, there is one aspect of
computer games that is not created and shared by game players: the AI.
Building sophisticated personalities, behaviors, and strategies
requires expertise in both AI and programming, and remains outside the
purview of the end user.

To understand why Game AI is hard, we need to understand how it works.
AI can take digital entertainment beyond scripted interactions into
the arena of truly interactive systems that are responsive, adaptive,
and intelligent. I will discuss examples of AI techniques for
character-level AI (in embedded NPCs, for example) and game-level AI
(in the drama manager, for example). These types of AI enhance the
player experience in different ways. The techniques are complicated
and are usually implemented by expert game designers.

I will argue that User-Generated AI is the next big frontier in the
rapidly growing Social Gaming area. From Sims to Risk to World of
Warcraft, end users want to create, modify, and share not only the
appearance but the "minds" of their characters. I will present my
recent research on intelligent technologies to assist Game AI authors,
and show the first Web 2.0 application that allows average users to
create AIs and challenge their friends to play them—without
programming. I will conclude with some thoughts about the future of
AI-based Interactive Digital Entertainment.


Dr. Ashwin Ram is an Associate Professor and Director of the Cognitive
Computing Lab in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, an
Associate Professor of Cognitive Science, and an Adjunct Professor in
Psychology at Georgia Tech and in MathCS at Emory University. He
received his PhD from Yale University in 1989, his MS from University
of Illinois in 1984, and his BTech from IIT Delhi in 1982. He has
published 2 books and over 100 scientific articles in international
forums. He is a founder of Enkia Corporation which develops AI
software for social media applications, Inquus Corporation which is
building an online social learning network called OpenStudy, and Cobot
Health Corporation which is developing conversational agents for
healthcare information access.

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