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U.S. Army Seeks To Test Virtual Soldier A.I. in WoW

| 6 Nov 2008 12:57
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The future is starting to look a heck of a lot scarier. Hasn't anyone seen Terminator?

Reportedly, the U.S. Army is branching out to embrace research into more paranormal aspects of military technology. As part of this unusual initiative, the military hopes to test realistic holographic soldiers in online MMOGs like World of Warcraft and Eve Online, according to the online defense journal DoD Buzz.

Among other strange experiments, the army is working on perfecting extremely realistic computer-generated entities that think, emote, and respond to human interaction of their own accord, says Dr. John Parmentola, director of research and laboratory management with the U.S. Army's science and technology office. He said these holographic 3D soldiers could be used for military training simulations and war games. To test the realistic nature of these A.I. soldiers, the army wants to unleash them into World of Warcraft to see how they interact with players.

"I actually interact with virtual humans in terms of asking them questions and they're responding," said Parmentola. "We want to use the massively multi-player online game as an experimental laboratory to see if they're good enough to convince humans that they're actually human."

The article goes on to talk about some creepier military research happening in the areas of memory erasing and implanting, limb regeneration, mind-controlled computing, and other stuff you'd expect to see in the X-Files. It's simultaneously creepy and interesting stuff. Who knows, maybe the next time you're out on a WoW raid not all of your buddies may be controlled by living, breathing beings sitting behind a computer screen.

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