Your Pal in Second Life May Be a Robot

Researchers use virtual world to test AI creations
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2008 7:25 PM CDT
"Second Life" is a prime frontier in AI research because it's a controllable environment where testing intelligent creations is easier.   (KRT Photos)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Scientists are creating virtual robots in a virtual world with the hope of simulating real people. Got it? Second Life is prime testing ground for artificial intelligence because it allows experts to exert more control over their creations. “It’s a very inexpensive way to test out our technologies right now,” one says.

Scientists plan to let their avatars roam the virtual world freely, and they’re getting close: By training one robot to guess others' thoughts, they’ve raised it to the level of a toddler, the AP reports. Second Life is a “fantastic sweet spot,” said one computer science professor: “not too simple, not too complicated, (with) high cultural value.” (Read more Second Life stories.)