How To Transition From Game Designer To AI Revolutionary
The British video game industry is exceptionally vibrant and has always been pushed forward by the “bedroom coder”, an enterprising young designer who starts out making simple games and becomes a titan of the industry.
Whether the platform is a ZX Spectrum, a Raspberry Pi or Minecraft, gaming is often a very fun way to learn coding essentials that have the potential to change the world, as was shown by the amazing story of Demis Hassabis, founder of DeepMind.
Mr Hassabis was a child prodigy, reaching master level at chess at the age of 13, using his chess winnings to buy a ZX Spectrum computer and books to learn how to program.
This would, by 16, lead him to Peter Molyneux’s Bullfrog Productions, a unique and highly-regarded game company in the 1990s, and at the age of 17 was the lead programmer and co-designer on the highly successful and critically acclaimed Theme Park.
The money made through the success of this game allowed him to pay his entire tuition at the University of Cambridge.
Once he graduated, he returned to Mr Molyneux’s next company, Lionhead, as an AI specialist, bringing his skills to the then-revolutionary god game Black & White.
He did not spend long at Lionhead, however, founding his own game studio, Elixir Studios, to develop other simulation games with complex AI simulations such as Republic: The Revolution and Evil Genius.
After the studio closed in 2005, he would obtain a PhD in cognitive neuroscience and this would be the seed that would develop into DeepMind, an AI company that initially started with the intent of developing AI models that learned in the same way humans did.
Its most famous work in this regard was the development of AlphaGo, an AI computer program trained to play Go that was able to beat a world champion in a game that was believed to be too complicated for computers to solve.
More recently DeepMind developed AlphaFold, a system to predict how proteins evolve that has become an evolving database of protein structures and one of the most important discoveries ever made with AI.
All of this began with games and this highlights the importance they have in the development of the future.