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Here's What Happens When An AI Builds Grand Theft Auto

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has come a long way in the public eye. People in the 1970s were warning the world about the "dangers" of AI, and now gamers all over the world happily join up with AI teammates in some of their favorite titles. While we know (or at least, we think we know) that AI isn't going to commit a hostile takeover, it is learning how to take over certain parts of game design, most recently in regards to the "Grand Theft Auto" series.


Back in January, Rockstar's new patent for NPC behavior showed fans just how much AI may be involved in the upcoming "GTA" games. And now, a project known as "GAN Theft Auto" has been recently created by an AI. That's right: artificial intelligence built a new, playable version of "GTA 5."

The project, which YouTuber sentdex showed off in a video posted on June 18, was created by "using a GameGAN fork based on NVIDIA's GameGAN research." Essentially, sentdex said, an AI was trained by watching bots drive around in the game. The AI learned how the game functions by observing typical player inputs and seeing how various frames in the game interact with one another.

While AI has been a hot word for a while now, "GAN Theft Auto" takes things to a whole new level.


Why an AI-built Grand Theft Auto world is crazier than it sounds

AI has been able to create things before, or improve graphics as sentdex mentioned, but creating a playable "GTA" world is a bit deeper. As sentdex pointed out, the AI created an entire world based on player input, which in turn affects the visuals, physics, and even other NPC car behavior around it.


While players can only drive around in "GAN Theft Auto" at the moment — and the visuals have a bit of a fuzzy quality to them — the results are no less astounding. Sentdex's groundbreaking experiment had YouTube viewers dreaming up possibilities of how this technology could be used in the future.

User Gasimo had an interesting theory: "Imagine how we can utilize this technology for photoreal game experiences or even AI generated game scenarios for infinite potential in an open world game!" Another user, fackarov, pointed out how cool it is that people can play something that is "literally the memories of the GAN about the game."

Only time will tell if the AI learns to think like Trevor from "GTA 5." Of course, that might not be the best idea.