Metal Gear Solid box used to outwit a real military robot

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As artificial intelligence begins to play an increasingly prominent role in our lives, writing the news and driving cars, for better or worse, we are naturally faced with a number of difficult questions. Chief among them: “Could you beat an AI in a fight? And if so, how?

Eight Marines recently cracked the code. They discovered that the key is to act like video game characters.

In the forthcoming book “Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” by Paul Scharre, an excerpt from which was posted on Twitter by The Economist defense editor Shashank Joshi: The author tells an anecdote about a time when the US military used soldiers to refine the ability of an artificial intelligence system to detect people. After six days of training the algorithm by making soldiers walk, Scharre writes, engineers on the project flipped the script, pitting soldiers against the AI ​​by placing the robot in the middle of a roundabout and tasking soldiers to approach without being hit. detected. .

The robot was unable to detect any of the soldiers. To beat the AI, the participants chose to move not like normal human beings, but in ways that have more in common with cartoon or video game characters.

“Two did a 300-meter somersault; it was never detected,” Scharre writes, citing a source named Phil, who is not identified in Joshi’s excerpt from the book. “Two hid under a cardboard box. You could hear them laugh all the time.”

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Another field of soldiers stripped down a fir tree and then, you probably guessed it by now, pretended to be a fir tree.

Reading this anecdote, many Twitter users compared the cardboard box approach to the least sophisticated tool in “Metal Gear Solid” super-spy Solid Snake’s arsenal: a humble cardboard box, under which players can hide. to baffle foot soldiers and bipedal nuke tanks. similar. Add that to the list of things “Metal Gear Solid” director Hideo Kojima predicted. Meanwhile, if you’ve ever played a Dark Souls game, you’ve somersaulted over 1,000 feet.

The military has long used video games to train soldiers and market itself to young people, which is why it has come under intense scrutiny. In recent times, the US and countries like Israel have also started using games to upgrade AI systems. But for all their video game training, humans have more. If in doubt, just hide under a cardboard box.

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