An AI Mario project sees the Italian plumber learning how to navigate the Mushroom Kingdom guided only by simple voice commands.
It’s the work of Stephan Ehrenfeld, Fabian Schrodt, and Dr. Martin V. Butz of the University of Tübingen in Germany who have entered their AI Mario project into this year’s AAAI Video Competition. You can see it in action in the video above.
Due to the command-based structure of the AI, you can speak to Mario inside the game using plain speech, telling him to do things such as exploring the world, jumping on Goombas, and collecting coins. When he does this, Mario learns the result of each action so that he can apply that knowledge to other situations.
For example, when Mario is told to find an enemy, he discovers a Goomba and jumps on its head, killing it. When asked what he learned from this he reports back that “If I jump on Goomba, maybe it dies.”
Even without external input, the AI Mario has emotional states that motivate it towards certain actions over time. If Mario gets hungry then he will find coins to collect as they reduce that need. If he becomes curious then Mario will hop off around the Mushroom Kingdom to explore. He can also be happy and sad.