Since his birth in 1985, our favorite plumber Mario has gone through numerous evolutions. Now it is a cult video game that exists on several platforms with many different versions. However, the latest development that Mario went through is the most exciting: the character is now able to learn and feel in the confines of his 8-bit universe.
Three researches, from the University of Tübingen in Germany, gave Mario the ability to live and converse with an adaptive learning artificial intelligence method.
The project was created for a video competition organized by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). The non-profit organization's aim in this contest is to debunk the fear and gloom associated with the development of artificial intelligence.
The project has been developed to create an artificial intelligence that can learn and live in its own environment. The Mario designed by the researches can answer questions, make assumptions based on his experiences and give decisions according to his feelings. Mario starts in his world with the awareness of his body and he adds new information to his knowledge as he goes on in the game. The interesting thing is that he can have emotions that are primed either by his 8-bit world or a voice command from the researcher.
The image above illustrates how Mario learns by experience. After being asked to jump on Goomba, he reports back on what he has learned: "If I jump on Goomba, then he certainly dies". Add his emotions to the mix and you get a Mario acting on his emotions. When he feels hungry, he collects coins and when he is curious he roams around.
The artificial intelligence developed for Mario is not too sophisticated. However, it is innovative considering that Mario's psychology comes first his movements. You can check the video for more information on how the artificial intelligence of Mario works.