Games That Teach

Games can teach. I think most of us know that. But did you know that games can also teach computers? Yep. Try this game. It was created by my friends Andrew and Melissa at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies.

The game's goal is to see what actions people can recognize and use the actions of people to inform machine learning.   In Andrew's words:

"The ultimate goal is to build a system that allows people to create their own movies (involving shapes), and have the computer automatically author a textual narrative that describes their movie in anthropomorphic terms."


Pretty cool.

For Shame

Shame, it seems, does nothing to deter certain human behavior. A new study out of USC states that "the more we anticipate wagging fingers, public pillory and guilt, the worse we're likely to do when it comes to self-control. If we focus on the pride that comes from good behavior, we make better choices." How did the researchers come by their results? With cake, of course. (My kind of scientific study!). Researchers offer study participants chocolate cake. The participants who focused on the pride they would feel in resisting the cake, fared better - they ate less of the cake. Said more scientifically: "when it comes to self-regulation, anticipated pride outperformed anticipated shame as well as unconsidered, heedless consumption."

Why should this be so? "Simply put, anticipating pride makes us feel good, and anticipating shame makes us feel bad."

Focusing on the positive effects of our actions can help us to act in the ways we want to.

Hmmm. I'm going to think of how proud I'll be of my abs when I skip a cupcake. I'll let you know if it works!