Minecraft Combat Update
The "Minecraft" 1.9 update is finally out with new items and blocks coming for players. Mojang

“Minecraft” has been used beyond its reputation as the most popular building game. It has been used in the classroom for teaching children in the engineering and architecture industries, among others.

This time, “Minecraft” is also being used to develop and enhance an artificial intelligence by making use of the environment of the game. Microsoft is doing this from scratch, which means that the AI being educated knows nothing at the start but needs to learn and accomplish its tasks. Currently, that task is to climb a hill as supervised by five computer scientists.

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“The team is trying to train an artificial intelligence agent to learn how to do things like climb to the highest point in the virtual world, using the same types of resources a human has when she learns a new task,” said Microsoft in the official blog.

Similar to how a toddler is in learning a task—it has no knowledge of its surroundings or even the task at hand. This requires several trial and error sessions until it progresses in achieving its task.

The key to this journey is to program the AI to learn tasks, instead of programming it at the get-go with a specific set of tasks. As such, the world of “Minecraft” serves as a good testing ground and AIX, a program that is currently under private beta until summer, when AIX is released as an open-source license.

In the meantime, “Minecraft” players can enjoy the latest pre-release for “Minecraft 1.9.” It is currently at the Pre-release 4 version with minute changes from the last release. In the official Mojang blog, the developer has listed the different minor changes that will be coming to the build.

Some of these are mostly fixes to minor issues. There are six minor tweaks that have been added in the Version 1.9 Pre-release 4. Most of these are not based on the bug tracker. Among these are the twice-ticking of player entities on servers, sound positions, invulnerability during dimension changes, projectile scaling, some commands and cleaning up in the code. The full list of other changes done before pre-release 4 have also been listed, but Mojang has confirmed that it will be releasing the final list of changes once the “Minecraft 1.9” is ready for release.

"Minecraft 1.9" pre-release clip (Credit: YouTube/xisumavoid)