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Old June 21st, 2017, 01:12 PM
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Default Artificial Intelligence in the Traveller Universe

When Traveller was originally developed, AI was one of those science-fiction constructs. Marvin Minsky had some ideas about computer intelligence and expert systems that were mostly academic. AI in commercially available games -- arguably where the front edge of AI was for a long time -- didn't really start to get interesting until the 90s.

AI in general

Today, AI has successfully defeated our best chess players and best Go players. It's driving cars. It's eliminating a third of a million billable hours of boring legal contract work (link: Bloomberg news article).

I'm not talking sentient AI here. Not yet. No androids (though people are working on those, too). I'm only talking about AI systems that can do one particular thing very well, probably better than an expert human.

Today we're seeing the advent of Internet of Things (IoT), where just about everything is attached to the net. Your fridge. Your tv. Your lights. Your thermostat. Your car. Your phone. The button next to the washer that orders more laundry detergent.

I think the next step is to see "AI of Things." That is, everything is programmed with a certain level of intelligence. It not only makes smart decisions for us, but it also communicates with us (probably verbally) and makes sure it's doing a good job to understand our needs.

AI and the game

There were good reasons not to have clever AI in the Traveller universe. Foremost, it takes away player opportunities. Is it fun to have Pilot 1 or Gunnery 2 when the computer pilots the ship and fires all the weapons?

It's getting harder to ignore the fact that AI is going to do a lot of things better than we can.

1. What does the Traveller universe look like when AI is everywhere?

2. Can Traveller have AIoT without losing the element that makes it fun to play?
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