Grand Theft Auto V is now playable inside of an AI

GTA 5 cheats
(Image credit: Rockstar)

A portion of GTA V has been recreated inside of an AI in a fascinating project involving a neural mind. 

AI is a term that is often used when talking about video games, but what it usually refers to is a behavioral set of rules that are reacting to the player. Enemies in games aren't true AI that are actively trying to learn or do things that end up with them eventually taking over the world. 

However, there are interesting applications involving games that are using more powerful, traditional AI. That's what GAN Theft Auto is trying to do. YouTuber Harrison Kinsley and Daniel Kukieła have posted a video (via PC Gamer) about their work, which essentially has a portion of Grand Theft Auto V working entirely within an AI's 'mind'. You can watch it here: 

It's a fascinating video, which showcases the bizarre, dream-like version of GTA V. The play is generated through the AI, which has been learning the same stretch of road over and over again, including the behavior of a car on the road. The AI has been studying it and learning how it all interacts. It's noted that none of the code has been inputted by human hand, this has purely been the on the AI to craft and output this play.

As the pun of a name might imply, the project is using a GAN or a generative adversarial network. This is essentially two neural networks conflicting with each other to create fake data or images. One generates an image, while another keeps the other one in check, making sure it isn't overreaching.

That is a huge oversimplification of the impressive tech on display here, but hopefully gives you a working idea of what is going on. For a fuller understanding, it's definitely worth watching the full video. However, to put it in as simple terms as possible, you can now play Grand Theft Auto V in the mind of a computer. The future is wild.

While what's here is hardly a game, it doesn't make the tech any less impressive. It also opens up the door to some fascinating applications in game making in the future. This tech is still very new, and while I wouldn't expect to play fully formed games crafted by AI soon, the supplemental applications could be massive to some parts of game design.

This kind of AI-assisted tech will hopefully push games even further than before in the future, and it could well be built on the back of smaller projects like this.

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Guides Editor at TechRadar

Patrick Dane is currently the Guides Editor at TechRadar. However, he was formerly a freelance games journalist writing for sites and publications such as GamesRadar, Metro, IGN, Eurogamer, PC Gamer, and the International Business Times, among others. He was also once the Managing Editor for Bleeding Cool.