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Artificial Intelligence

Example: "Siri's AI has improved and she understands more of my questions now."

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Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is the ability of a computer to act like a human being. It has several applications, including software simulations and robotics. It is also used in in video games, where the computer acts as another player.

Nearly all video games include some level of artificial intelligence. The most basic type of AI produces characters that move in standard formations and perform predictable actions. More advanced artificial intelligence enables computer characters to act unpredictably and make different decisions based on a player's actions. For example, in a first-person shooter (FPS), an AI opponent may hide behind a wall while the player is facing him. When the player turns away, the AI opponent may attack. In modern video games, multiple AI opponents can even work together, making the gameplay even more challenging.

Artificial intelligence is used in a wide range of video games, including board games, side-scrollers, and 3D action games. AI also plays a large role in sports games, such as football, soccer, and basketball games. Since the competition is only as good as the computer's artificial intelligence, the AI is a crucial aspect of a game's playability.

Games that lack a sophisticated and dynamic AI are easy to beat and therefore are less fun to play. If the artificial intelligence is too good, a game might be impossible to beat, which would be discouraging for players. Therefore, video game developers often spend a long time creating the perfect balance of artificial intelligence to make the games both challenging and fun to play. Most games also include different difficulty levels, such as Easy, Medium, and Hard, which allows players to select an appropriate level of artificial intelligence to play against.

First Published: December 1, 2010
Last Updated: December 1, 2010

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Definition from the PC Glossary