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Minecraft will soon host AI players

But human players won't get the axe.

Minecraft has long been a testing ground for people to explore and experiment, but the sandbox game will soon host players of a very different kind: artificial intelligences.

Starting in July, Minecraft will be used to test the logic of AI programs. Imagine having an AI buddy that could determine what you were building and help you finish the job, or an AI that could help you sniff out diamonds.

Minecraft makes for a promising framework in which to test the limits of an AI. For one, it's a simple interface which users of all ages and levels of coding knowledge can quickly understand.

But it's also open-ended, which means AIs can be examined working in an fully customisable space.

Microsoft announced the new endeavour today and showed off how AI code will be able to quickly hook itself into Minecraft using an open-source piece of software named AIX (thanks, BBC News).

Anyone who wants to try it themselves needs only to buy a copy of the game to get started.

In the past, we've taken a look at how AIs are starting to build their own games and virtual environments via trial and error methods. The most famous program to do so is probably ANGELINA - whose creator Chris Donlan met up with in 2013.

Donlan met up with ANGELINA again in 2014 as it was entered into a game jam. We're saving the next article on ANGELINA for when it takes all of our jobs.

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Tom Phillips avatar

Tom Phillips


Tom is Eurogamer's Editor-in-Chief. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon. Tom joined Eurogamer in 2010 following a stint running a Nintendo fansite, and still owns two GameCubes. He also still plays Pokémon Go every day.