As AI be­comes more ad­vanced, and Ubisoft’s vir­tual worlds be­come ever-more re­al­is­tic, games could help solve real physics­based prob­lems. “In videogames, we tend to im­i­tate what’s been done in the real world with mo­tion cap­ture,” Yves Jac­quier says. “We think for the first time – it’s not old, it’s only been two years since we’ve seen th­ese kinds of con­cepts emerg­ing – it goes around both ways.” Highly de­vel­oped AI in games could pro­vide a use­ful vir­tual test­ing ground for med­i­cal and en­gi­neer­ing prod­ucts be­fore they’re pro­to­typed, such as test­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of a pros­thetic limb in var­i­ous sit­u­a­tions: when the user runs, goes down­stairs, gets into a car or falls. “Or how would a car be­have in this or that sit­u­a­tion – with pedes­tri­ans in­volved, or with weather con­di­tions?” Jac­quier says. “Th­ese are tests you can­not do in real life. Some of them would be so ex­pen­sive it wouldn’t work, and some of them are just not le­gal, or even moral! But in a videogame en­vi­ron­ment, you can do that.”

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