In the future, it’s likely that many aspects of human society will be controlled — either partly or wholly — by artificial intelligence. AI computer agents could manage systems from the quotidian (e.g., traffic lights) to the complex (e.g., a nation’s whole economy), but leaving aside the problem of whether or not they can do their jobs well, there is another challenge: will these agents be able to play nice with one another? What happens if one AI’s aims conflict with another’s? Will they fight, or work together?
Google’s AI subsidiary DeepMind has been exploring this problem in a new study published today. The company’s researchers decided to test how AI agents interacted with one another in a series of “social dilemmas.” This is a rather generic term for situations in which individuals can profit from being selfish — but where everyone loses if everyone is selfish. The most famous example of this is the prisoner’s dilemma, where two individuals can choose to betray one another for a prize, but lose out if both choose this option.
As explained in a blog post from DeepMind, the company’s researchers tested how AI agents would perform in these sorts of situations, by dropping them into a pair of very basic video games.
Continue onto The Verge to read the complete article and to watch these two AIs go head to head in a video game.