Artificial intelligence

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Elizabeth Suggs | staff writer | [email protected]



For the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) annual video competition, researchers from Germany’s University of Tübingen brought the well known Mario, from Super Mario, to life.


“As most of you know, this is Mario, but what you do not know is that this Mario has become aware of himself and his environment, at least to a certain extent,” said a researcher in the AAAI video.


In the video, Mario demonstrated a variety of emotions, from happiness to sadness. Mario is then able to express his emotional state from a list of phrases given to him by the researchers.


The environment, actions, and enemies around him are the cause of his anxiety or happiness. Mario also understands life and death, to a certain degree.


“If I jump on Goomba then it maybe dies,” Mario responded to researchers after being told to jump on the long-time enemy.


Mario also searches for coins when he’s hungry.


For many, the idea of artificial intelligence succeeding to this point is thrilling. For others, like UVU student, Loree Bunnell, this prospect of artificial life is not so bright.


“[It] makes me nervous. We couldn’t control them. It would be too hard,” said Bunnell.


Both Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates agreed with Bunnell.


“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” said Hawking in a BBC interview.


Gates expressed his fears over an AMA (Ask Me Anything) Subreddit.


“I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence. First, the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that, though, the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern.”  Gates wrote on Reddit’s AMA.


While many fear the future of technology, others believe it must happen.


“It’s progress.” Scott Kartchner, a UVU student, said. “Little by little it will be more integrated into our lives.”


The development of Mario is only the beginning for the Tübingen researchers. According to Fabian Schrodt, one of the brains behind Mario Lives!, there is more to come concerning Super Mario AI.


Luigi will be the next, Schrodt explained in an interview with The Verge, The team plans to have both Mario and Luigi communicate with one another and learn from each other.


Mario Lives! isn’t the only artificial intelligence growing in popularity. Openworm, an AI based off a microscopic roundworm is also being studied.


According, the roundworm, or C. elegans, has only a thousand cells. Problems any microscopic roundworm may encounter, are also encountered in this worm’s daily life: feeding, mate-finding, and predator avoidance.


C. elegans, according to researchers, is still a mystery, despite being so well studied. The project aims to use a “bottom-up” approach, meaning, what the scientists observe is what emerges from a simulation of data from scientific experiments.


Information on AAAI for Mario Lives! can be found at




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