Our mechanical overlords have mastered Mario

Praise be to MarI/O, father of Archos

This is how it starts, I fucking know it. First it’s cute little tricks like playing football. Then it’s some actually kind of impressive stuff like this AI who has managed to learn and beat a Mario level in 34 tries. Then it’s cars shapeshifting into tanks and killing us all.

34 tries doesn’t sound particularly impressive until you learn the AI, named MarI/O, didn’t know anything about Mario before playing. It didn’t know the controls, the goal, or that it was even playing a game. It had to learn everything itself through a process called “neuroevolution”, which sounds terrifying.

The idea is really cool though: each ‘pass’ of the level, MarI/O would attempt something new and not tried before. If that change meant it got further in the level, it was remembered and built upon by future additional maneuvers. Eventually, 34 passes later, MarI/O managed to become a better Mario player than me and finished the level.

MarI/O’s creator SethBling explains it much better than I could in his video. Even if he is going to be credited with the downfall of humanity and the rise of cruel, emotionless machines. You can even find the source code if you want to tinker with it. God help us all if you do.

Archos is coming. Archos knows all.

Artificial intelligence learns Mario level in just 34 attempts [Engadget]

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Joe Parlock
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