At first glance, the idea sounds absurd: artificial intelligence should be able to play video games instead of the actual players. The Playstation group Sony has had this idea patented.
The clou: The AI shouldn’t just play to itself, but should be able to analyze and imitate the player’s playing style. The more she learns, the more the playstyle would resemble that of the human counterpart. Actually, the real player is no longer needed, the AI itself could replace him.
In parts of the gaming community, this idea causes discomfort and ridicule. Who wants to be replaced by a computer program? Who wants to watch an algorithm play? Some argue that games are only fun if you master them yourself. When you defeat even the most stubborn opponents yourself, all alone, without outside help.
There is more to the AI
However, these game fans overlook the possibilities that a self-playing AI offers. And they are fascinating.
In the patent application, Sony itself presents a possible application: If you play multiplayer games like “Fortnite” or “Destiny” in a team with friends, but have to end the game at short notice, you could at least let your personal AI continue playing. The team would have the illusion that their playmate, with their signature playstyle, was still on board.
But what is more important: People with physical disabilities could get the chance to play more.
There are now more games with accessibility than a few years ago, and many large game companies have become sensitive to the issue. But that’s not enough.
How barrier-free play is made possible with technical aids.
If you have a physical disability, you may not be able to press the button on the controller for 20 seconds at a time, it can be too tiring. Or a person cannot complete a certain game situation in the given time limit.
Games can be so difficult that they are impossible to beat. Such impossible game situations shut people out.
AI could make accessibility possible
An artificial intelligence that takes control of the difficult parts at the player’s request could be a blessing for everyone who would have to stop the game at this point. That barrier would be broken.
The self-playing AI is still just a project. But if it should become a reality, Sony absolutely has to think about this aspect.