Robots Teach Each Other How To Play Pac-Man

Next, they'll be your sensei.

Flickr/Ryan Somma

Here's a slight improvement to drunkenly shouting over your friend's shoulder while they play a round of Pac-Man at the bar: Researchers at Washington State University have created computer programs that teach each other how to play Pac-Man.

In a new study, the researchers explain how they built one teacher-like computer and one student-like computer; as the student computer fumbled, the teacher helped the student slowly improve at Pac-Man and the strategy game StarCraft. Plus, the computers actually taught like humans. They monitored for when the other computer appeared to be struggling, then gave them advice accordingly, like a helpful grade-school teacher might.

The goal is to eventually create machines that can train replacements—one master machine might train a fleet of "blank" machines to accomplish a specific task. Eventually, skilled machines could train people in a more human-like, thoughtful way, too.

So, long story short: your high score is probably safe.