The Artificial Olympic Spirit?

One thing I always enjoy about watching the Olympics is the way some athletes relate to each other immediately after an event. Some seem to retain a kind of burning hatred from within the heat of competition – fencers are pretty amazing for that. But a lot of them, on completing their race, act like the old friends they presumably are. Handshakes, exchange words, nods and smiles. The larger context of the various sports, that these people complete with each other regularly and know each other, is very pleasing. It looks like a nice feeling. It would be interesting if we could feel this way toward AI opponents. Can we?

When I try to think about it, I feel like I do sometimes relate to AIs this way, particularly in sporting games I suppose. In any individual game, of course, you can start to have feelings (admittedly often hostile) toward the AI players/characters. But again there is a broader context, because you play against the same AI over and over again – you learn its tendencies, it’s “personality of play”. And so it is you might fondly watch as, for instance, the AI in Tecmo Super Bowl falls for your fake-out like you thought it would, or the security guard in Skate fondly punches you off your board after an infringement.

It seems like it would be nice to emphasise this element of playing against AI’s somehow. A kind of meta-game in which player and AI acknowledge each other as competitors. Counter-terrorists and terrorists shake hands after a war well waged.

8 August 2012
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