Gabe Newell hints characters in single-player games might be as intelligent as humans within nine years

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“People have seen us sort of step away from immersive single-player experiences for a while,” acknowledges Valve CEO and co-founder Gabe Newell in Edge’s interview, “and a lot of that was that we saw more tractable opportunities elsewhere. I mean, a typical gaming company would just keep cranking out sequel after sequel – but the reason people value Valve is that we’re supposed to be the ones picking interesting problems and solving them.”
Newell refers to the OpenAI bots that have been trained to play Dota 2 to such a standard that they can beat almost every Dota-playing human on the planet. “That’s actually a surprisingly narrow challenge for artificial intelligence,” Newell says. ”Beating humans is easier than entertaining humans. But over the next several years – and if you ask me, my little spreadsheet calculation is it’s about nine years – we’ll have artificial general intelligence that can do anything a smart person can do.
“It’ll probably initially take something like a billion dollars to build one of these silicon humans, but then they’ll just keep getting cheaper, and it’ll get cheaper really quickly, and eventually reach the point where you have ten or a hundred people living in your computer all the time. Harnessing that will mean single-player games get a lot more interesting.”
“If you could build a single-player game that just never ended, where I could play 20 hours a week and it just keeps growing and getting richer, and I’d be having as much fun 400 hours into this experience as I was in the first 20 hours… I think that is a way more likely scenario looking forward five years than it would have been looking forward five years ago. That’s going to be a tectonic shift in the industry.”
 
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