, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 229-242

Artificial Intelligence & Games: Should Computational Psychology be Revalued?

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Abstract

The aims of this paper are threefold: To show that game-playing (GP), the discipline of Artificial Intelligence (AI) concerned with the development of automated game players, has a strong epistemological relevance within both AI and the vast area of cognitive sciences. In this context games can be seen as a way of securely reducing (segmenting) real-world complexity, thus creating the laboratory environment necessary for testing the diverse types and facets of intelligence produced by computer models. This paper aims to promote the belief that games represent an excellent tool for the project of computational psychology (CP).  To underline how, despite this, GP has mainly adopted an engineering-inspired methodology and in doing so has distorted the framework of cognitive functionalism. Many successes (i.e. chess, checkers) have been achieved refusing human-like reasoning. The AI has appeared to work well despite ignoring an intrinsic motivation, that of creating an explanatory link between machines and mind.  To assert that substantial improvements in GP may be obtained in the future only by renewed interest in human-inspired models of reasoning and in other cognitive studies. In fact, if we increase the complexity of games (from NP-Completeness to AI-Completeness) in order to reproduce real-life problems, computer science techniques enter an impasse. Many of AI’s recent GP experiences can be shown to validate this.  The lack of consistent philosophical foundations for cognitive AI and the minimal philosophical commitment of AI investigation are two of the major reasons that play an important role in explaining why CP has been overlooked.