Earlier this year, OpenAI, an A.I. startup once sponsored by Elon Musk, created a text-generating bot deemed too dangerous to ever release to the public. Called GPT-2, the algorithm was designed to generate text so humanlike that it could convincingly pass itself off as being written by a person. Feed it the start of a newspaper article, for instance, and it would dream up the rest, complete with imagined quotes. The results were a Turing Test tailor-made for the fake news-infused world of 2019.
The game that rewrites itself
“GPT-2 is basically an extremely powerful predictive text algorithm,” Whitmore told Digital Trends. “You give it some text and it tries to predict what comes next. This is really well-suited to text adventure games. You can feed in the player’s current location and their action — [for example] , ‘go east’ — and then you just ask GPT-2 to predict what text comes next, which is the consequence of that action. Then the player makes another action, and you have a game.”
In GPT Adventure, the text world of the game is generated by the predictive GPT-2. That means that, instead of programming a collection of rooms and monsters in advance, the game starts your character in a location and then uses A.I. to figure out what happens next.
Ultimately, just as text adventure games were just one step in the process that led to today’s cutting-edge 3D games (and will continue on from there), so GPT Adventure is just another data point in the advance of A.I. But it’s a pretty darn exciting data point — and, as Whitmore notes, the fact that such tools are now publicly available makes things all the more fun.
“One of the really cool things about this is that there are public tools like GPT-2-simple and Google Colaboratory (read: Google’s Jupyter notebook environment which runs programs in the cloud and stores its notebooks on Google Drive) that make it really easy to do these kinds of creative things with A.I.”