Let’s start off with a definition of A.I.Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence exhibited by machines. In computer science, an ideal “intelligent” machine is a flexible rational agent that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal.

So the move to improve AI has been going on for years and now is taking another step through the use of the game, Minecraft.  Minecraft is a sandbox video game originally created by Swedish programmer Markus “Notch” Persson and later developed and published byMojang. The creative and building aspects of Minecraft enable players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D procedurally generated world. Other activities in the game include exploration, resource gathering, crafting, and combat.

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So Microsoft has been on this project, called Project Malmo. A platform that uses Minecraft as an environment for advanced research into artificial intelligence. It was previously open only to scientists who were invited in a private preview but now it is available via Github. The idea here is instead of creating AI system that can perform singular tasks and solve singular problems, create a general AI that has learned how to make sense of complex environments, and has learned from humans how to interact with the world. Project Malmo does this by placing an AI in the Minecraft environment where researchers can see how it response to things that you throw at it (to put in plainly). This way the researchers can teach their AI creation to respond to a vast range of different situations.

The move from being able to perform specific tasks to anything in general is what most would say a needed stepping stone so instead of creating AIs that can play games or board games, one could create an AI that can do larger functions in life, like washing clothes and then folding the laundry afterward. Another one that comes to mind is being able to stock the shelves at Stop N Shop or ShopRite. (If this happens more people will be out of a job.)

Microsoft has released an education version per say in an effort to engage a more broad range of users. Well the whole Minecraft idea is the niche in itself which they hope will attract more beginner coders.

Sources: Microsoft Github Microsoft Blog