The Augmented City is a podcast series that explores the impact of Artificial intelligence on urban life & culture

Game Theory & Artificial Intelligence

Game Theory & Artificial Intelligence

When you think about what goes into creating a physical product, service, or media, there's usually a map that plots a straight line between something of value and how a customer experiences it. A map could be an instruction guide or tutorial, the particular format doesn't matter as much as the purpose: to enable someone to orient herself to the product or service and find the optimal route to value.

But what if we start adding intelligence to the mix? What if our product, or service, or media learns about an individual user and adjusts its operation or behavior? Now, you're not talking about providing a person with a map to value so much as you're giving her a compass, which is a far more flexible tool, but one that requires her to employ creativity and autonomy to discover her unique path to value.

As we embed the real world and our won bodies with sensors and beacons, offer augmented and virtual reality experiences, populate our daily lives with chatbots, virtual assistants and robots, our ability to draw a map with a single optimal path to value becomes much more difficult. At the same time, just because you give a person a compass doesn't mean they won't get lost. There needs to be a blend between creating the useful signposts and directional arrows we find from maps with the ability to navigate around obstacles or discover short cuts like using a compass.

The video game industry has understood this delicate balancing act between maps and compass since day one. It doesn't mean that all augmented products, services and media should behave like an interactive game. But it does follow that lessons learned from game experiences have a place in the design and support of AI-powered products and services.

To help understand what's applicable from the gaming world to AI-powered products & services, The Augmented City sat down with Matt McCloskey and Brent Friedman.

Matt McCloskey, Vice President of Commerce, Twitch   "It's not just facilitating what you do, but also facilitating who you hang out with, and facilitating those social connections. That's probably how the video game version of AI will translate to those real world connections."

Matt McCloskey, Vice President of Commerce, Twitch   "It's not just facilitating what you do, but also facilitating who you hang out with, and facilitating those social connections. That's probably how the video game version of AI will translate to those real world connections."

Matt McCloskey is Vice President of Commerce for Twitch, which is the world's leading social video platform for gamers, video game culture and the creative arts. Matt is responsible for supporting game developers and content creators on the Twitch platform, including its Cheering and Bits program along with its streamer subscriptions business. Before Twitch, Matt was an executive at 343 Industries, where he worked in various roles connected surrounding the Halo game universe & franchise.

Brent Friedman, Artifact Technologies  "What I want to see is how the future of artificial intelligence can bring people together and make them better. That's a very complex and lofty goal."

Brent Friedman, Artifact Technologies  "What I want to see is how the future of artificial intelligence can bring people together and make them better. That's a very complex and lofty goal."

Brent Friedman has more than 25 years creative experience across all entertainment platforms. Focused on science fiction & fantasy, Brent has worked as a staff writer for George Lucas for Star Wars Rebels and Clone Wars. He helped design and write the narrative for Iron Maiden's role-playing mobile game, Legacy of the Beast. Brent has worked and consulted for Electronic Arts, Zynga, and 343 Industries, including work on Halo 4. Brent is also chief creative officer at Artifact Technologies, which uses beacons and GPS to help museums, schools, music events and conventions offer their audiences immersive content and gamified interactions. 

At the end of the day, the output of artificial intelligence is a suggestion for human behavior, a hint about what might be the best next step. Whether that makes life more of a game than it already is remains to be seen.

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