Researchers use Overcooked to train AI to be a best gaming friend

DeepMind researchers are using the chaotic cooking game Overcooked (opens in new tab) to teach AI to collaborate better with humans. The MIT researchers followed suit, giving their AI the ability to distinguish between a diverse range of play styles. What’s amazing is that it’s actually working – the humans involved preferred to play with the AI.

Have you ever been thrown into a game with strangers only to find their playstyle totally overturns yours? There’s a reason we’re better at playing games with people we know – they understand us. As a team, you make it a point to complement each other’s playstyle so you can cover all the bases and win.

Generally, the sole purpose of an AI model in games is to maximize your final score, fuck the rest. That’s why AI is great in competitive single-player games, but not so great in collaboration. As we know, there is more to be gained when it comes to cooperation.

DeepMind researchers launched what they call ‘Fictitious Co-Play (FCP)’ AI in Overcooked sessions with humans and ‘new agents’, or unknown AI that was trained on separate algorithms.

Essentially, it uses a much more diverse set to learn. In your discoveries (opens in new tab) (PDF notice) they’ve seen scores skyrocket thanks to this new training method, and human partners have even expressed “a strong subjective preference to partner with FCP agents.”

MIT researchers were experimenting with a similar method (opens in new tab), inspired by the findings of DeepMind. They took it a step further with their new ‘Any-Play’ model, broadening the criteria, asking the AI ​​to correctly identify their coaching partner’s playing style so they can better adapt for the good of the team. Rather than just maximizing the score – which seems to be the goal of most boneheads I know via online matchmaking.

Previous experiments that matched humans with AI teammates, such as one of Lincoln Laboratory (opens in new tab) researchers, made it clear that humans often view AI as a “messy and unpredictable” teammate. These new methods, however, could one day cause you to be replaced by an AI if your playstyle doesn’t match that of your teammates.

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