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Thoughts Before the GDC AI Summit

I have been busily preparing all sorts of stuff at the last minute for the upcoming AI Summit at GDC. Having been involved since the initial discussions started at the last GDC, it has been interesting watching it grow.

The Summit is being put on by the newly formed AI Game Programmers Guild. As such, there are plenty of really sharp people involved. What was very striking, however, was how many times we all made comments expressing how interested we were in going to each others’ sessions! Theoretically, we would put this Summit on for our own benefit even if there were no attendees at all! (Although I believe that the GDC folks would not be terribly pleased by that prospect.) Seriously, we could easily have filled the entire week with the information that we wanted to exchange I, for one, know that I will be at every single AI Summit session with rapt attention. I am even looking forward to hearing what my own co-lecturers, Phil Carlisle and Richard Evans, have to say in our session, “Breaking the Cookie-Cutter: Modeling Individual Personality, Mood, and Emotion in Characters“… and I have already looked at their slides! 

One takeaway from that observation is that we will be talking about a lot of really nifty AI stuff. That much is obvious. Another takeaway, however, is that none of us… even the alleged “experts”… knows everything there is to know about AI. We all want to experience, learn, and expand. That desire comes from the somewhat discomforting awareness that there is a vast expanse of potential laid out before us. As the saying goes, “the more I learn, the more I learn how much I have to learn!” 

I think that will be the underlying theme next week… not just at the AI Summit, but at the entire conference. Sure, there are students and… *ahem*… n00bs at the conference, but there are plenty of seasoned veterans sitting in the audience rather than standing behind the podium or sitting at a panel table. Why? There is plenty more we can do to advance ourselves and, by association, our trade.

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