World of Warcraft May Be Used as Army AI Testing Ground

By Blake Ellison, Nov 06, 2008 11:06am PST The U.S. Army may use MMO games like World of Warcraft as simulation training for new artificial intelligence that would see use in holographic soldiers for training.

It sounds ridiculous, but it's straight from the mouth of John Parmentola, the director of research for the Army's science and technology office.

"We want to use the massively multi-player online game as an experimental laboratory to see if they're good enough to convince humans that they're actually human," said Parmentola according to military blog DoD Buzz, whose report was picked up by gadget blog Gizmodo.

"I actually interact with virtual humans in terms of asking them questions and they're responding," stated Parmentola.

Those virtual humans are expected to show up as "photorealistic looking and acting human beings that can think on their own, have emotions and talk in local slang."

The Army is developing holographic imagery that looks more like reality and less like Will.I.Am through "quantum ghost imaging," a phenomenon of quantum physics in which visible copies of images can essentially be displaced.

In other Metal Gear Solid 4-esque developments, DoD Buzz reports that the Army is also at work on erasing specific memories to combat post-traumatic stress disorder as well as telepathic communication by converting electrical impulses on the scalp into wireless signals. Adding to that, Parmentola says his department is hopeful about "being able to regrow limbs on people."

World of Warcraft developer Blizzard has a history of banning AI users, but not outside the context of automating character-building activities like leveling up or making money. But if World of Warcraft is already a virtual front in the War on Terror, it's only fitting that the good guys should join in that fight.

For those wondering how far off these technologies may be, many of them will debut at the 26th Army Science Conference in Orlando in December.

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  • "Those virtual humans are expected to show up as "photorealistic looking and acting human beings that can think on their own, have emotions and talk in local slang.""

    ^^^They got this idea from Halo, didn't they?

    "... the Army is also at work on erasing specific memories to combat post-traumatic stress disorder as well as telepathic communication by converting electrical impulses on the scalp into wireless signals. "

    ^^^I know they're making it sound like they're doing it for good reasons, but it also sounds to me like they're working on a way to wipe your memories and read your thoughts.

    "Adding to that, Parmentola says his department is hopeful about "being able to regrow limbs on people.""

    ^^^ Stem cell research is going to be legalized now?

    This is all very cool stuff, but am I the only one feeling like it's gonna end up all falling into the wrong hands when/if any of it is ever brought to reality?