This AI is Driving Through GTA V and Destroying Everything

This AI is Driving Through GTA V and Destroying Everything

The AI should be named "Christine" instead of "Charles".

Last week, we reported on a story about researchers using Grand Theft Auto V as a tool to train their Artificial Intelligence programs. Now, an AI program called "Charles" is following in their footsteps and using GTA V to learn how to drive to far less successful results. There's also a Twitch channel streaming the whole thing.

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The short biography on the Twitch page describes the AI program knowns as "Charles" as "a convolutional neural network that learns to drive through deep learning." Which all sounds very sophisticated if the stream didn't showcase Charles constantly crashing into things or hurling itself into bodies of water.

Python programmer Harrison Kinsley writes that "[a]t the moment, Charles learns and takes all actions based on single frames at a time, and bases his decisions just pixel data. Charles only sees exactly what you see... In time, I intend to give Charles some short-term memory to hopefully improve his driving."

Watching this stream, it's hard to really understand Charles, or consider what it's doing as "learning". Charles continues to drive in the same chaotic way I've seen him drive when I first tuned into the stream with very little evidence of improvement.

While the AI researchers we highlighted last week were training their AI programs so that they'll eventually be used in smart cars, Charles is more how I imagine what it must feel like to be Christine, the haunted murder car from the Stephen King novel of the same name.

As I'm typing this, the stream is currently close to 3,000 viewers and Charles just drove into the water again, where it remains peacefully. Charles is no longer harming innocent bystanders on the streets of Los Santos which is good, though it's only a matter of time before the AI restarts itself and Charles is back on the streets causing mayhem.

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Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

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