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Computers

Minecraft is getting an AI assistant from Facebook and MIT

The artificial intelligence assistant is being designed to multitask and learn new skills.

minecraft
Microsoft

Minecraft is getting an artificial intelligence assistant, with Facebook and MIT working on the project. The goal is to develop an AI system that can multitask well instead of being "superhuman" at just one activity, MIT Technology Review said Thursday in a blog post.

Minecraft has over 90 million monthly players and just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Also coming soon is Minecraft Earth, a Pokemon Go-style AR mobile game, which is now in beta on iOS and Android. Minecraft developer Mojang was bought by Microsoft for $2.5 billion in 2014.

Facebook Research and MIT researchers are now working on an AI assistant that can interact with players and then perform a bunch of tasks on request. The assistant can also learn from these interactions, and develop new skills. They chose to use the game Minecraft for the project because it has "infinite variety" but simple and predictable rules.

"The opportunities for an AI to learn are huge," the blog post said. "Facebook is setting itself the task of designing the AI to self-improve ... the researchers think the Minecraft environment is a perfect one to develop this kind of learning."

MIT said it's a challenging process, because even a simple request like "build a tower 15 blocks tall" requires the AI assistant to understand what a tower is, how to build one, how to measure the height, and to know what 15 is.

An early version of the AI assistant is already available to download.