Machine Learning: Facebook's AI Assistant helps build Minecraft works

Scientists at Facebook are developing an AI wizard that can support players in the blockmaking game Minecraft. A first version of the software already controls its own character, understands commands and can respond to questions from the players. The program may be in a short demo that references the US University MIT Facebook shows, already build simple structures, welcome players and move to the position of the controlling.

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  1. webschuppen GmbH, Hamburg
  2. University of the Federal Armed Forces Munich, Neubiberg

The program is designed to take off the abilities of other players and to learn for themselves – such as building a new statue or talking to people. The software is controlled by the integrated text chat in the game. One example Facebook calls: orders like "Build a tower with 15 blocks height and put a huge smiley on top" should be able to interpret and implement the program.

Big world, small elements

Several AI tasks have to be solved. So the software must understand a sentence based on the sentence structure, move to a suitable place in the game world and implement core messages. For example, the definition of a smiley may already vary. It depends on the training data available to the program.

Minecraft is well suited as a training scenario in that it follows simple rules. Although a huge game world is generated randomly to start the server, in the basic structure it is composed of cubes that correspond to a standard size. The concept of a block is firmly defined.

"We believe we can make progress in creating a useful wizard without having to tackle any possible task"said Facebook researcher Arthur Szlam. Since players were mostly in a small area within the game, it was not necessary to be perfect.

An AI assistant could also be developed in a different direction. AI opponents who analyze player behavior and adjust their behavior accordingly would be a step towards immersive games and more human-looking opponents. Currently, bots in games are almost exclusively implemented with pre-programmed and therefore limited behavior.