Atilla the Hun AIs?

Neurotic software has a winning personality


“They say the meek shall inherit the earth, but these experiments with emotional computer programs (pdf) suggest it may actually be the neurotic. And that they’ll probably take it rapidly by military force.

“The Austrian researchers want games to be more engaging by having emotional, not just coolly calculating, computer players. Instead of just challenging your rational planning and decision skills, you’ll have use your emotional intelligence too.

“They created aggressive, defensive, normal and neurotic versions of the AI software in the war strategy game Age of Mythology, drawing on “the big five” emotional dimensions to personality recognised by psychologists.

* * *

“The neurotic bot was more likely than the others to distort hard facts about resources – like the amount of timber around – and flip between extremes of behaviour. And it was better than the rest.

“Each bot took on the game’s default AI seven times. Both the aggressive and neurotic bots won all their matches – but the neurotic did it faster. On average by around 25%.”

Original: Tom Simonite, oneline technology reporter / Technology: New Scientist Blogs


Newcomb’s commentary: from Dr. Strangelove

Dr. Strangelove




President Muffley: “What’s happened?”

Soviet Ambassador: “The doomsday machine.”

President Muffley: “The doomsday machine? What is that?”
Soviet Ambassador:
“A device which will destroy all human and animal life on earth.”
President Muffley: “I’m afraid I don’t understand something. Is the Premier threatening to explode this if our planes carry out their attack?”

Soviet Ambassador: “No sir. It is not a thing a sane man would do. The doomsday machine is designed to … to trigger itself automatically.”

* * *

President Muffley: “But, how is it possible for this thing to be triggered automatically, and at the same time impossible to untrigger?”

Dr. Strangelove: “Mr. President, it is not only possible, it is essential. That is the whole idea of this machine, you know. Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy… the fear to attack. And so, because of the automated and irrevocable decision making process which rules out human meddling, the doomsday machine is terrifying. It’s simple to understand. And completely credible, and convincing.”


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