Game over, man.
A Microsoft-made AI system has achieved a perfect score of 999,990 points on the Atari 2600 version of the classic ‘Ms. Pac-Man’ – making it very likely the first time anybody, human or robot, has “beaten” the game. Ever.
The notion that this is the first time this score has been achieved is backed up by Highscore.com, a resource for tracking high scores in the still-competitive classic arcade gaming scene. Per that site, the highest score ever recorded in this version of “Ms. Pac-Man” was 266,330, by a player in Brazil.
Here’s a video of the achievement, including footage of the game resetting when it hits that top score:
This particular achievement came out of Maluuba, an artificial-intelligence startup that Microsoft snapped up back in January 2017.
It’s kind of funny, too, because Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella once quipped that where Google was building AI systems to win games like Go and “Starcraft II,” Microsoft was building AI to get real work done.
Cut Maluuba some slack, though: Microsoft does say that the tech used to help its robots make split-second decisions “Ms. Pac-Man” could also be used in, say, software for salespeople to help them determine the right sales leads to contact on any given day.