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Why We Won’t See AI Hardware

My buddy Paul Tozour has been epic in some of his posts lately. Here’s another one, Why “AI Accelerators” Will Never Happen, that I can’t believe escaped my notice for a few days. Although I wince at his use of the word “never” in the title, he does have a lot of excellent points in the article.

In the first section he talks about how the concept of “AI” is so broad that there isn’t really any silver bullet that would help everyone. He actually kind of echoes a couple of columns I wrote for AIGameDev last spring on the subject. In Why Not More Simulation in Game AI?, talk about how there is that growing division between AI programmers. We just aren’t doing the same thing any more… and many of us don’t have a handle on what the other types do. Likewise, in Is There a Core Building Block of AI?, I cover how we really don’t have a single thing we can build on… like Chris Hecker’s idea of the “texture mapped triangle of AI”.

I like his comment in the third section about how bad AI rarely comes from a lack of computing power. I would add the qualification that incomplete AI often comes from a lack of computing power. If we had more ticks, we can do more stuff. However, the solution isn’t offloading it onto specialized hardware. All we need is either more processor or the permission to use more processor from our bosses.

Anyway, Paul has definately been on a tear lately!

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2 Responses to “Why We Won’t See AI Hardware”

  1. shadow says:

    Maybe this will sound stupid, but could graphic cards play this role of “AI hardware” one day ?
    With technologies such as CUDA or the DX11 “compute shader”, programmers are more and more able to do whatever they want with a GPU (physics simulations are a good example).
    Don’t you think this kind of use could be extended to AI ? For example, you could compute many non-player character pathfindings at the same time…

  2. Dave Mark says:

    There has actually been a lot of putzing around with this in the past. The jury is still out on the viability of it.

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