“Mario Lives!” Project Aims to Create a Self-Aware Mario


A group of researchers manage to program Mario to take in information using natural speech voice commands for a project in artificial intelligence.

The iconic video game character Mario recognizes his hunger and curiosity, and he learns how to take in commands by natural speech in a project called “Mario Lives!” as an example of improving artificial intelligence.

The Cognitive Modeling group of Germany’s University of Tübingen created “Mario Lives!” as an entry for an Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) competition.

A person can give commands to Mario, such as “Kill enemy,” and give him information, such as “Listen, Goomba dies when you jump on Goomba.” Mario will note that he understands, and if a person asks Mario, “What do you know about Goomba?”, Mario will reply, “If I jump on Goomba, then it certainly dies.”

If Mario kills a Goomba without being told what happens, Mario would instead reply, “If I jump on Goomba, then it maybe dies.” Mario will collect information about the surroundings as he explores, noting when he destroys a block and nothing happens, when he jumps on an enemy and it dies, and more.

Mario also has drives for curiosity and hunger. When hungry, Mario will collect coins, and when curious, Mario will explore the world. Mario will even repeat back commands, stating, “Somehow I feel less happy” after he’s commanded to be less happy.

But that’s not all. Fabian Schrodt, a researcher involved with “Mario Lives!”, said the Cognitive Modeling team is also working on a project where an AI-controlled Mario and Luigi can speak to each other and share information they find independently. This results in them teaching each other.

The AAAI video competition is an annual competition that aims to show the world “how much fun AI is by documenting exciting artificial intelligence advances in research, education, and application.” It’s in its ninth year, and the video with the most likes by January 27 will win the People’s Choice Award.

Source: AAAI Video Competition via The Verge

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