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Artificial Intelligence in Video Gaming: Sparrow

A desktop computer. On the monitor, there is an image of a sparrow bird and a prompt that reads "Are you ready?". There are two choices for the user to input, "yes" or "no".

Written by Tammy Lee
Illustrated by Prima Zhao

It’s been over 2 decades since the first computer chess-playing system, Deep Blue, defeated the reigning world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. Although examples of artificial intelligence (AI) systems such as Deep Blue only became well-known to the public in the late 20th century, AI has made its way to the market long before that. The increase in computational power led to the early use of AI in data mining, medical diagnosis, aviation, and even finance in the early 21st century. With how sophisticated AI has become, it’s no surprise that artificial intelligence is already embedded into our everyday lives. Ridesharing applications like Uber and Lyft, email spam filters, and even plagiarism checkers like Turnitin are AI-powered, while more companies are incorporating AI into their services by the day.

Sparrow, a student startup based at the Entrepreneurship Hatchery at the University of Toronto, is one such group. Their plan is to build a League of Legends ‘personal gaming coach’ that incorporates AI into video gaming. Using the principles of machine learning, the developers are building a tool that will help players improve their performance by identifying mistakes after monitoring the players’ gameplay and giving feedback, all for an affordable price that is 1/5 of the cost of hiring a gaming coach in real life.

With their new idea of merging AI and gaming, Sparrow won first place during the Entrepreneurship Accelerator Weekend at the University of Toronto in early 2019 and came in second at the Hatchery Nest Demo Day just recently in September. Sparrow is currently in development but the developers are hoping to open beta testing to the public in January 2020.

Even though it’s only been a little over a century since the term Artificial Intelligence was first coined, the ability of robots and machines to overcome problems and help with learning, planning, and perception has been incredible. With how much they’re improving, it’s possible that within the next decade, AI will be as commonplace in our lives just like sliced bread.