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EA makes Artificial Intelligence that teaches itself to play Battlefield

Published: 16:11, 26 March 2018
Soldier in the foreground is aiming his pistol, with three more soldiers in the background and a zeppelin going up in flames behind them.
Battlefield 1

It's a scary thought, EA making an artificial intelligence, even if it is only for Battlefield, but there you have it - the company's AI actually plays and learns. Of course, it, or he, doesn't understand ethics yet, just like EA.

EA says that all the "agents" are "controlled by a single neural network that's been trained to play the game from scratch through trial and error", unlike much of its player base.

DICE Screenshot from Battlefield 1943 showing a soldier carrying a Thompson submachine gun on the battlefield. Battlefield 1943 - The last Battlefield game set in World War 2 was released in 2009.

To be fair, the company's video shows what happens when things go wrong, which looks peculiarly jolly - how often do you see players with guns running around in circles, other than in Planetside 2.

Apparently, EA gives the bots a nudge towards playing the objectives but their actual behaviour is purely based on earlier gameplay experience. To facilitate the experiment, the company left ammo and health packs around, leaving it up to the bots to figure out the rest.

It may seem like EA's come up with nothing but a glorified bot that simply tweaks its path nodes. However the obvious selection of adaptable game parameters, within which the behaviour will function, is clever mimicking of mechanisms found in nature, such as that used by ants.

EA DICE Two soldiers shooting across the trenches in Battlefield 1's Nivelle Nights map Battlefield 1 - Nivelle Nights

As a result, the AI seems to act pretty naturally while fragging its neural brethren around Battlefield's battlefield. To be fair, most of the time it's doing a pretty good job, except for the jolly dancing part on the both sides of the wall. By all parties. Hey, we guess there was love to go around.

The technology behind the AI was developed by EA's SEED, short for the Search for Extraordinary Experiences Division, the company's department for research and tinkering with deep learning and neural networks.

DICE A soldier with a flamethrower in Battlefield 1 Battlefield 1

Now, before we start calling for evacuation of planet Earth on Electronic Arts' account, we have to wait at least until the AI actually starts thinking about ammo in a proper way.

However, with the AI teaching itself every facet of gameplay you've seen on the video, we'd very much like to see how much did it take to learn it all.

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