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A.I. Mario Figures out How to Destroy His Enemies; Now You’re Playing God With Power

"If I talk to the humans, they certainly learn to trust me."


Researchers at the University of Tübingen in Germany have given Mario the ultimate power up: he can learn about his environment and enemies. They gave him rudimentary “feelings,” too, but apparently forgot empathy, because he sure is obsessed with how to kill things. So, par for the course for artificial intelligence.

But he’s not going to be getting a sense of ennui when the game is paused or anything; Mario’s emotional states are just variables that can be changed on command with the help of a speech recognition system borrowed from Carnegie Mellon. When he’s feeling different “emotions,” he goes about exploring the Mushroom Kingdom in different ways. Curiosity leads him to explore his surroundings and log more knowledge about enemies and items, while getting hungry makes him want to collect coins.

And that’s where things get creepy as Mario reports back the level of certainty he’s gained knowing some of his actions will destroy his opponents. He’s 100% positive that anything the researchers tell him is true, but if left to his own devices, he’ll be able to recount with his cold, beady-eyed stare that he’s starting to get the idea that jumping on Bowser’s minions will kill them.

Eventually, he becomes certain, and then he’s an unstoppable killing machine that can perfectly calculate its way around a Mario World level and find all the precious gold coins it needs to devour. Knowledge is power!

(via io9)

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Dan is many things, including a game developer, animator, martial artist, and at least semi-professional pancake chef. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (his dog), both of whom are the best.