A recent article in The New Yorker explains how the video game (and sometimes feminist) icon will possibly impact the creation and use of military drones.
Pac-Mania was short-lived. The way in which the game was programmed meant that skilled and attentive players could eventually memorize its patterns. With mastery came boredom….Ms. Pac-Man’s grand innovation was to randomize the movements of the ghosts, named Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Sue.
Three decades later, these simple tweaks serve a weighty new purpose. The skill that Ms. Pac-Man demands of its players—making multi-objective, dynamic decisions quickly—turns out to be the same ability that artificial-intelligence researchers wish to program into many of their bots. And according to Silvia Ferrari, the director of Cornell University’s Laboratory for Intelligent Systems and Controls, the game is an especially ideal environment for training autonomous military machines. In January, a bot that she created with three of her colleagues set a new A.I. world record for Ms. Pac-Man, beating the previous record by more than seven thousand points.
Image courtesy of The New Yorker.