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Blizzard Is Experimenting With Machine Learning


Blizzard’s Overwatch anti-toxicity efforts might turn out successful after all, despite the fact that the developers may have arrived a bit too late to prevent a crisis. According to director Jeff Kaplan, the next move is to have computers finding the bad actors instead of humans.

Kaplan explains that Blizzard is currently experimenting with machine learning and they’re trying to teach games all about toxic language. This would eliminate the need to wait for a report that determines what exactly is toxic.

Blizzard’s target is to get games to discover this on their own instead of developers sitting around and waiting for reports.

Blizzard Is Making Progress In The AI Field

In a video that was released back in January, Kaplan stated that Overwatch’s reporting and punishment systems managed to trigger the decrease of abusive chat by 17%. He also said that people use the report feature 20% more often.

On the other hand, even if Overwatch‘s reporting system is now functional, this does not mean that the problems shared by reporting systems will disappear.

The downsides include the fact that they are slow and people don’t trust them enough yet.

Blizzard’s Next Step Is To Catch Bad Behavior Before It’s Reported

The Overwatch team set its next step, and this involves catching bad behavior before it gets reported. Here’s the point when machine learning enters the scene.

According to Kaplan, Blizzard is already teaching its AI non-English languages, and the company hopes that it can also learn what toxic gameplay look like in order to eliminate bad actors.

Machines are not perfect because they’re built by humans, and they can also have trouble determining context especially if they’re just being taught words and phrases.

Kaplan said that by now developers managed to turn their AI to go after the most egregious examples of toxic actors. In Blizzard’s eyes, these are people who definitely deserve punishment.

The Overwatch team which is currently part of Blizzard’s anti-toxicity efforts is examining the ways in which you reinforce good behavior.