A Conversation for Artificial Intelligence
26199 Started conversation Sep 14, 2000
Impressive though the 'Creatures' series is, they are commercial games, designed to sell as well as possible... and, as such, it's entirely understandable that the programmers have used one or two tricks to make it look more sophisticated.
The Norns don't learn language, as such... a simple lookup table keeps track of which words you'd taught it for which concepts, and the correct word is invoked when the brain is in a state corresponding to a concept.
Also, Creatures sacrifices some of the ALife element for gameplay. If the Norns could survive on their own, it wouldn't be much of a game, would it? So the Norns are dependant on human interaction, and therefore not much use as a model of an actual biological species...
The biggest limitation of Creatures is that the genetic structure of the Norns is fairly simple and rigid; there's no way they can evolve beyond what the programmers originally conceived. This is fine for a game, indeed, it'd be almost impossible to have the game without narrowing the possibilities a bit... but it somewhat limits the program's prospects.
Don't get me wrong... Creatures is a great achievement. It's brought public support to the field, and it *is* an achievement in terms of the program itself. But the distance still to be covered should not be underestimated...
Tweedle Dee Posted Sep 14, 2000
This is true, but I still consider Creatures a great achievement. It does suffer as a biological experiment, but in many ways for instance it does learn language (after all, don't we use lookup tables all the time, such as dictionaries) Also, it's applications of genetic algorithms and neural nets were totally revolutionary which is why I mentioned it in the article
26199 Posted Sep 14, 2000
Well, the lookup process is entirely automatic in Creatures... the Norns themselves have absolutely no concept of words.
I agree, though, it's certainly worth a mention in any article on AI.
'S good fun, too
Italic Blue Posted Sep 22, 2000
I wouldn't quite call Creatures artificial intelligence. They're more artificially dim. But they're so sweet, who can resist them?
Athon Solo Posted Oct 25, 2000
1. The purpose of the lookup tables is to act as the Norn's 'memory'. Without them it owuld not remember the words when you exited the program.
2. The Norn AI must have a concept of words otherwise it would not be able to pick the correct ones. Sure most of its words are related to objects, but so are most of ours (eg. apple, table, etc.) - that is how most of us learned to speak. Your first word is not likely to be 'likely' or 'when' or something like that. It is much more likely to have been 'mummy' or 'chair' or some other word that is related to an object.
It is only later in our development that we start to learn words which are not related to objects.
26199 Posted Oct 25, 2000
'Fraid I still have to maintain that Norns have no concept of words... they couldn't tell you, for example, that 'carrot' begins with a 'c', because the word 'carrot' isn't represented in their brains as c-a-r-r-o-t, but as a single number corresponding to 'carrot' in the lookup table... if that... I suspect, rather, that the lookup table stores a brain state which will invoke each particular word, and the Norn's "speech" is in fact parrot-like recitation of words which line up with their brain state at that point...
In other words, if it's feeling hungry, the entry in the lookup table for this state of mind, which may well be 'carrot', will be said...
Zucchini Posted Dec 30, 2002
Not only that, but you couldn't teach it to differentiate between, say, one flower and another identical flower. All flowers would be "flower". All toys are "Toy"
In terms of evolution, I bet no-one expected such oddities as the breed with two frontal lobes or the two-tailed creatures. Disappoitingly they are limited by their graphic sets - you can't leave it running overnight and discover something 8 foot tall with four pindot eyes drooling acid.
Another game worth mentioning is Maxis's Sim Life (which wasn't brilliant). I once left the dinosaur scenario running overnight - in the morning everything had evolved into lichen.
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