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DOOM It is a legendary game and thanks to the enthusiasm of the community it seems that it can run on almost any device. While it seems there were no limits to DOOMIt seemed that if there was one for the species that play it, it is that video games are an exclusive entertainment for humans. However, an experiment showed that things can be different when training rats to play DOOM.
A neuroengineer known as Viktor Tóth spent part of the last year teaching a trio of rats named Carmack, Romero, and Tom to play. DOOM, albeit in a very basic way. At first glance it seems to be an experiment destined to fail, but Tóth shocked the world by getting these trained rats to learn how to move in the game, open doors and even shoot to eliminate an Imp.
But how did he do it? The first thing was to build a kind of virtual reality environment that could make the rats control the game without a traditional controller. Then he trained them in an automated way to walk a corridor made on the engine of DOOM II. “Although I implemented the mechanisms to train the rats to shoot monsters in the game, I lacked time to reinforce that behavior,” explained the neuroengineer.
With this, the rat would walk in a ball so that its character moves forward. Once it encounters a monster, the software detects it, and since the rat doesn’t know what to do, the software moves it to press a button. Once the monster is eliminated, the rodent receives sugar water as a reward.
As we mentioned before, the neuroengineer did not have enough time to discover the long-term effects of rewarding this behavior. With that said, the idea is that doing this enough will cause the rats to press the fire button every time they encounter an enemy.
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Now this may spark debate, are rats really playing DOOM or are they just running on a ball to get a prize? At such an early stage it seems that the experiment consists only of the latter. However, it remains a fact that it was the rat that shot to eliminate the Imp, right? In addition, after all we also play to receive stimuli, even if they are more elaborate than receiving sugar water.
What do you think about this new? Do you think that one day we can see rats play video games in a more sophisticated and complex way? Tell us in the comments.
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