Should peasants think for themselves?

One of the things I find interesting about artificial intelligence (A.I) is its intersection with philosophy.  I read that Blizzard uses some sort of “think” routine for each of the units in its Real Time Strategy (RTS) games (Warcraft, Warcraft II, Starcraft, etc…)  So, while I’m sitting here trying to design different A.I. models for a project, I found myself considering whether I should incorporate a similar think routine for the units in the game.  The idea being that the main A.I. manager would ask the units “what do you think you should be doing?”

It's not that I don't trust you...
It's not that I dont' trust you...

What would a peasant want to do?  Well, in the game there are buildings to build, wood to harvest and gold to collect, but wouldn’t he rather just sit there?  So, I concluded that peasants shouldn’t think for themselves and perhaps there should be a manager thinking for the peasants.

Another philosophical observation occurred when I was working on a Pac-man game.  In a certain implementation, Pac-man would always work to maximize his score.  So, if Pac-man realized, through heuristic search, that he was trapped and would inevitably die, he would dive-bomb a ghost, as each second alive decreased his score, like a good utilitarian.

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2 thoughts on “Should peasants think for themselves?

  1. Where did you read about this think routine? That sounds cool. I never knew that. Maybe that’s why each unit seems to rotate themselves at random. In Warcraft and Warcraft II, it was probably just a random number generator between 1-8 for which direction wants to face. Eventually, the units had idle actions. I guess I never thought about the fact someone had to program the units to do stuff while they’re standing still.

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