Ever felt like there’s just not enough time in the day to play all the games you want in addition to eating, sleeping and working? Well, Sony Interactive Entertainment's recent patent for an “automated artificial intelligence control mode for playing specific tasks during gaming applications” might be of interest.
Filed by Sony Interactive Entertainment in April 2020 and published this month (via SegmentNext (opens in new tab)), the patent application outlines (opens in new tab) a way that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could study a person’s play style and then assist or take over their gaming sessions as required.
According to the patent, a default play profile could be assigned to a user and initially the AI would simulate generic human behaviour. Over time, however, by “monitoring a plurality of game plays of the user playing a plurality of gaming applications”, the AI could customize the user's profile and start to behave more like the specific player its been studying.
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The idea is that once you have an AI profile that can fairly reliably replicate your behaviour, you could ask it to take over and continue to progress while you, for example, go and make your dinner. Once you’re ready to return to the game, you could just exit the automated mode.
The patent specifically mentions instances where “the game play controller can proceed in automatic mode to complete specific game tasks that are difficult for the user.”
A helping hand
The patent also outlines its potential in a “competitive multi-player game”. If a player, for example, needed to leave the game then it needn’t end—instead they could turn on the automated mode to simulate their game play so that their “online presence is maintained” while they’re away.
Given the already heated atmosphere of online multiplayer games and tensions around cheating this seems, by far, the most potentially controversial use of the mode and the one most likely to descend into a kind of AI-hunting hellscape only Philip K. Dick could dream up.
It’s possible that, for some players, the idea of kicking back with a plate of food while watching an AI version of themselves grind through some of the more dull parts of their PS5 games will hold an appeal. Others who take pride in the grind may feel differently.
Regardless, as this is only a patent there’s absolutely no guarantee that Sony will ever make this concept a reality, so we wouldn’t count on being able to leave your DualSense controller to get that last pesky Trophy for you any time soon.