Can AI play Sonic the Hedge­hog?

The Week - Junior - - On Screen -

For hu­mans, play­ing the Sonic the Hedge­hog games isn’t too hard. It’s just run­ning, jump­ing, spin­ning, col­lect­ing rings and bounc­ing on enemies’ heads.

It’s a tougher chal­lenge for non-hu­mans, though. A com­pany called OpenAI has launched a com­pe­ti­tion for peo­ple to de­sign an ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI) pro­gram that can play Sonic the Hedge­hog. Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence is a com­puter sys­tem that is able to learn and per­form tasks that usu­ally re­quire hu­man in­tel­li­gence. The AIs will have to learn the hard way: by play­ing lev­els from the Sonic games over and over, mak­ing mis­takes until they can com­plete each course with­out dy­ing.

This isn’t the first ex­am­ple of AIs learn­ing to play games. In 2015, Google de­vel­oped an AI that could play Space In­vaders just as well as many hu­mans, and in 2017, a team of US re­searchers did the same thing for Su­per Mario Bros.

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