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Future Tech: 

Computers are teaching each other to play Pac-Man


Oh no, we’re doomed!

In scenes eerily reminiscent to about 90 per cent of Hollywood’s futuristic dystopian nightmares, computers have started to teach each other. They’re using Pac-Man to do it.

That doesn’t sound so scary…

Researchers at Washington State University have developed a method to enable a computer to give advice and teach skills to another computer, in a way that a real teacher and student might interact. Findings show that the student computer doesn’t just learn to play Pac-Man, but actually surpasses the teacher computer.

So, is The Terminator about to demand our clothes, boots and motorcycle?

No. At least not any time soon. The long-term goal is said to be to create robots that can teach humans; a hugely important part of robotic research. Matthew E. Taylor, WSU professor in Artificial Intelligence, said of robots “They’re very dumb”. Basically, when they get confused, which is often, they simply stop working.

Taylor has designed algorithms for advice giving and aims to develop a curriculum for the computers that starts with simple work and builds to more complex tasks, such as one teaching another how to do the housework. Either that or we’re just going to create a lot of robots that are really good at Pac-Man, if their Rubik’s Cube performances are anything to go by…

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