Machine-learning is allowing GTA V to look like real life

Machine-learning is allowing GTA V to look like real life

This story about games looking like real life, boiled down, in 1:45 minutes.

What's the fuss?

Video game graphics has come a long way since the 80s. Thanks to a recent project by Intel Labs, we may be getting closer to a reality where we can't make the distinction between game graphics and looking through a window.

The situation

2013's Grand Theft Auto 5 was a landmark in video game history. Visually impressive for the time, the open world gave gamers almost too much to do. 8 years later, the game is often the most viewed game on Twitch and is the most successful entertainment property of all time with $6 billion in global revenue to date.

A team at Intel have made the the 8 year-old game look like it should be released 8 years from now. Called the Photorealism Enhancement Project, the team uses machine learning to make the cars have more shine, the roads smoother, and the colour tones more muted to make gameplay look like it was taken straight from a film. In layman's terms, the tool takes a set of images/pictures and "layers" them onto the game frame-by-frame where the AI deems most comparable. The results are photorealistic game graphics that hopefully will only improve here on out.

Boiling it down

Fortunately enough, artificial intelligence hasn't advanced enough to become Skynet. However, the technology has done a great deal for society in the interim, including for gaming. From making NPCs (non-player characters) more intelligent, generating randomized fantastical worlds, or even by automatically filtering out sexist and racial comments from other players, AI will continue to change the gaming experience.

So how much better can video game graphics actually get? No one knows for certain, but eventually we're going to reach a ceiling for graphical fidelity. Currently, we are experiencing somewhat of a plateau in graphical improvement, but this breakthrough in photorealism is getting closer to that ceiling

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