DARPA’s Strategy-Predicting Software

Posted: September 8, 2008 in 2007, Articles
Tags: ,
New Scientist:
Strategy-predicting software

Could a computer predict your next move in a game of strategy based only on observations of your past behaviour? The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) certainly hopes so. It has funded a project led by computer scientist H. Van Dyke Parunak to explore the idea.

Artificial intelligence experts normally approach this problem by assuming that the inner state of a person (or an “agent” in AI parlance) can be described in terms of beliefs, desires and goals. Since these goals determine an agent’s actions, it should then to be possible to use this knowledge to make predictions about the agent’s future actions.

Parunak claims to have used these ideas with some success in making predictions about future behaviour. He says his simulation works in relatively complex environments, making predictions in real-time.

In war-game scenarios, for example, Parunak says his model can successfully detect players’ emotions , and then predict future actions accordingly. He believes the technique could one day be applied to predict the behaviour of adversaries in military combat situations, competitive business tactics, and even multiplayer computer games.

The patent application gives an interesting insight into DARPA’s goals. The agency has pumped a lot of money into AI in recent years without reaping major rewards. One day computers may find a way to accurately second-guess humans, but I suspect we may have to wait a little longer yet.

Read the full strategy prediction patent application.

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