Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an exciting topic for some and horrifying to others. Reality, as with many things, seems to fall somewhere in-between the extremes. What isn’t up for debate is the potential usefulness of AI workers in gaming and film.
David Reitman, managing director and video game industry lead for Accenture, moderated the AI and the Future of Gaming panel at this year’s GamesBeat Summit Next 2022 event. At one point during the talk, Reitman asked the panel what they find exciting in the future of AI.
“There never is enough time or resource if you’re creating a film or a game world to adequately address populating that world or that film with enough exposition to give you understanding,” said Oscar winner John Gaeta, chief creative officer for Inworld AI. “Great games over time have years to log more and more logic, more and more lore and potentially set up many premises that are possible within that particular world. And same too with films and tv. The opportunity is to essentially populate the world. Call them supporting actors, right? That understand how this world works. They can have that as a common understanding. They can understand their role.”
“And it could be as simple as I’m a shopkeeper, or something more sophisticated, but a world of NPCs right,” asked Gaeta. “That understand how they fit in it and potentially can be used to not only create rich exposition, but also help guide and prompt a player into fascinating directions. Some of that prompting can be by human design. Like, I’m gonna make sure you sort of pierce through the arcs of a big mission and adventure, or potentially it could wander into sort of more simulation type stuff where interactions you have with these NPCs could effectively create a chain reaction of a story and or gameplay that was unexpected. So there’s a great opportunity, and it’s not far, it’s near, it’s near term that one could try these things.”
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AI in art
Once we make characters that can appreciate their world, where do we go from there? Andrew Maximov, CEO of Promethean AI, wants to see machines that can create art based on their unique worlds.
“Characters are peculiar, but I think the interesting thing to me is how working with the AI in general, how we see how people assign meaning to events that transpire digitally,” said Maximov. “There’s all these interesting opportunities for us to create experiences and ascribe meaning to them. Sometimes there’s an accident where our AI builds something that it was not meant to build that way, but humans walk in and they’re like, ‘Oh, there must have been an accident here. This thing is outta place.’ We assign stories onto the things we see. That’s what our brains are really good at. And I really like that part. But the part that I would like to see unlock that I think we’re really far away from is the opposite.”
“It’s very deliberate art that is not meant to be interpreted in different ways,” continued Maximov. “That is the art that, like, I always use examples of modern pop music where it’s like as generic and broadly appealing as possible, and then you go back and listen to like Bob Dylan and the Lonesome Death of Hat Carroll, whereas there’s just one way to interpret that song very specifically, and the author had very clear intent. And that is the part that I would like to see AI in character and narrative get us to where it’s very deliberate intent rather than something very generic.”
While it might not be as exciting, one of the more practical uses for AI will be doing repetitious tasks. In work where humans intervention would be rare, AI can tirelessly perform the job with a very low failure rate.
“I think one of the very clear areas we’re talking about is the new stuff happening around generative AI, which is obviously quite exciting,” said Dennis Fong, CEO of GGWP. “But you also have to look at the technological leverage that you have with AI, particularly when it comes to more menial tasks. You know, kind of the grunt work that almost anybody can do, whether it’s data entry, or I’m sure there’s parts of art that are also in the creative process that are just very time consuming.”
“When you look at the near term, I think that there’s much more leverage in AI helping solve things like testing and QA,” continued Fong. “Obviously moderation as well, which is what we’re doing at GGWP, because there’s very large data sets there. You don’t have to need a human to go review some kid that’s spamming the n-word in the chatroom. You don’t need a human to go review that and spend hours digging up that person’s history. AI can very quickly look at that essentially in real time and solve that. And I think there’s other elements in the creative process that AI can really help. If you look at a more meta level, I think AI’s just going to speed up the creative process in a lot of different ways, right?”
The world of tomorrow
Gaeta, in his closing remarks, reminds us that we are at the beginning of a new world. A world that was imagined by those before us. It may be one that many of us won’t live long enough to see, but we get to steer its course for a while.
“You know that expression ‘life is stranger than fiction?’ What we’re making in real life often tends to be essentially suggested to us from great works of fiction. In the Matrix there’s this thing called the Construct, right? We’re pretty much tracking towards that, right? And it was pretty much predicted quite a long time ago before that movie. So, I think it’s quite interesting to think about in the long arc of a career starting in concept and fiction and ending up working with folks trying to actualize these things.”
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