'The real challenge in computer games is to overcome the incredible abilities that humans have....'
Andrew Wagner's short history of man vs machine in gaming, and what we've learned already from the experience, including the application of AI to business development, is an enjoyable and thought-provoking read, raising almost as many questions as the historic facts that it covers.
I've long been a fan of gaming and the simple visualisation of concepts that help to demonstrate less straightforward or easily understood facts, or advice.
In professional services, it's one of the most effective techniques for resolving conflict between, for example, an advisor, looking to explain and advocate a particular, necessary approach and a business expert, who needs to stretch the boundaries of the permissible (some times even the lawful), to the greatest extent possible, without unwisely over-exposing the business to regulatory or legal risk. The taking of calculated risks is something that every business needs to do on occasion.
But it can be easier said than managed. And good advisors know that they need to speed their business colleagues as fast and collegiately as possible to the understanding of their position, to ensure that the appraisal of any risk is indeed well-informed, balanced and properly calculated.
In my time as an in-house legal leader and before I turned to business, some of my favourite educational and 'conflict-management' techniques involved a bit of theatre, plenty of contextual visualisation and certainly gaming - albeit not in the digital sense, because that wasn't really an option then. The digital application of those techniques has come later, making both the techniques and the learnings more accessible and more widely available, (I'll blog more on those another time).
The point I do want to emphasise here is that gaming techniques, whether underpinned by AI or not, have terrific potential to help us, as human experts, to work smarter, more confidently and more cost-effectively in business; to broker understanding, trust and co-operation. When married up with AI, these possibilities and outcomes become even more intriguing and exciting.
As Wagner records, during an interview with US computer scientist, Jonathan Schaeffer, '[g]ames might seem a trivial way to measure AI. But they offer "a nice, simple controlled environment... You demonstrate the ideas in the computer games, and then you scale them up to bigger real world problems. Games allow us to learn how to walk, before we learn how to run..." '
Combine man and machine, rather than pitch them against each other, and a whole world of exciting possibilities opens up.
In my experience, people tend to remember better and more clearly, what they learn in a gaming environment, especially where that environment is visual and relatable. Taking that environment digital, underpinning it with AI ... now that's where for me, the business of the future starts to get really exciting.
Games might seem a trivial way to measure AI. But they offer “a nice, simple controlled environment,” University of Alberta computer scientist Jonathan Schaeffer said. “You demonstrate the ideas in the computer games, and then you scale them up to bigger real world problems. Games allow us to learn how to walk, before we learn how to run.”