The rise of artificial intelligence in all aspects of technology has also brought advances in image and video generation. Aside from the notorious DeepFakes, this could also have exciting potential for the future of video games. Graphics chip maker Nvidia offers a glimpse into the future with the first video game demo using AI-generated graphics.
While an exciting first use of AI in this manner, the demo itself is very simple driving sim where you navigate a small space of a few city blocks. The game environment is modeled with a traditional game engine (Unreal Engine 4, also used for Fortnite and PUBG) but the graphics are layered over the models in the game engine by AI in real time. You can see the result below:
Not quite convincingly realistic, but still very impressive. As a side note, the learning material for the deep learning algorithms painting the environment comes from open-source datasets used for autonomous driving research.
Speaking to The Verge, Nvidia’s vice president of applied deep learning, Bryan Catanzaro calls this "a new way to render video content using deep learning...obviously Nvidia cares a lot about generating graphics [and] we’re thinking about how AI is going to revolutionize the field."
While we're not likely to see this technique hit the mainstream for a few years, it's interesting proof of content and we could see this kind of hybrid of traditional rendering with real time AI assistance more and more in industrial use and VR as well as traditional AAA video games. It could be used, for example, to integrate photos and videos we take from our smartphones into virtual worlds, for realistic avatars or modelling our neighborhoods to play in or industrial planning.
Of course, advances in AI-generated graphics go hand in hand with anxieties about fake videos and control over own images and personal space. But the technology doesn't stop advancing, so these are issues that should be brought to discussion before it becomes widespread.
What do you think of Nvidia's demo? Are you excited, or apprehensive?