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Microsoft Demos Speech AI Tech in Minecraft

The internal demo lets players tell the game what to do rather than using controls

AI comes to Minecraft in a new internal demo from Microsoft. The demo allows players to control the game through spoken prompts rather than moving their characters via manual controls. The demo utilizes new artificial intelligence technology. While there are currently no immediate plans for a public release, the feature could have a lasting impact on the game industry in the future.

Of late, the gaming industry has been working toward becoming more inclusive. Just a few years ago, The Last of Us Part 2‘s settings to aid colorblind individuals were almost unheard of. Now such settings are popping up in more and more games. Additionally, companies are working to create controls that allow persons with various disabilities to enjoy video games.

For instance, PlayStation’s Project Leonardo is an upcoming controller for the PS5 that can be put into different configurations and used in tandem with a traditional PS5 controller to allow those who have difficulty using the PlayStation 5 controller to easily play games. Microsoft’s AI game tech could offer a way for persons with disabilities, such as paraplegic individuals, to play games with ease.

Researchers test AI in Minecraft

Considering the nature of gameplay in Minecraft, it’s an excellent testing ground for new gaming tech. AI researchers have been testing artificial intelligence models within the game for years. While the idea of being able to tell your RPG character to grind a level is incredibly enticing, it’s unlikely such tech will be available in games any time soon.

Of course, such AI can potentially make games too easy and thus far less fun. Microsoft will need to figure out how to keep gameplay balanced and engaging while implanting such AI tools.

Allowing for natural language commands within video games isn’t an easy feat. The AI must be able to parse various slang terms and determine the players meaning before fulfilling a command. 

Written By

Jack Brassell is a freelance journalist and aspiring novelist. Jack is a self-proclaimed nerd with a lifelong passion for storytelling. As an author, Jack writes mostly horror and young adult fantasy. Also an avid gamer, she works as the lead news editor at Hardcore Droid. When she isn't writing or playing games, she can often be found binge-watching Parks & Rec or The Office, proudly considering herself to be a cross between Leslie Knope and Pam Beasley.

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