Opinion

You Absolutely Don’t Need AI To Tell You How to Make A Sword In Minecraft

Yet another way for AI to ruin gaming.

Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Surface Devices Brett Ostrum speaks during the Microsoft May 20 ...
JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images

Microsoft has been vocal lately about how its Copilot AI will soon be used on PCs — like spying on users and automating you out of a job — and now it’s shared plans for similar innovations coming to gaming. At its annual developer conference this week, Microsoft revealed the ways Copilot could be directly integrated into the company’s games in the near future.

During the presentation, Microsoft showed off how Copilot AI could help players in Minecraft, Windows Central reports. Microsoft said that players could ask the AI questions while playing and get an answer immediately, without having to go to another source. The example offered was of a Minecraft player asking Copilot how to craft a sword in the game. The AI could then search through the player’s inventory to see if they have the correct items, point them toward any resources they’re missing, and walk them through the process of crafting.

Microsoft wants to let AI tell you how to play Minecraft.

Microsoft

While that sure sounds convenient, it doesn’t seem like a feature anyone was asking for, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg for the problems with this AI integration. Merging Copilot AI directly with games doesn’t necessarily present any issues that aren’t already baked into AI generally, but it does give all the technology’s worst elements another place to thrive — and one that could be very popular.

It may sound like an overstatement, but the biggest issue here is that AI is a threat to the entire planet. Hard to find a problem bigger than that. Processing information through AI models like the one that powers Copilot uses a tremendous amount of energy. According to The World Economic Forum, AI’s energy use is expected to increase by up to 36 percent each year, meaning AI models could be gobbling up more electricity than the entire country of Iceland by 2028. Saving yourself the time it would take to look up one of the countless guides already available for Minecraft doesn’t seem quite worth the trade of accelerating the pace of climate change as much as a whole nation.

Which brings us to another issue — if AI takes over as players’ source of information for games, what happens to guide writers? The simple answer, of course, is that they lose their jobs even faster than they have been recently in the rapidly crumbling games media. Microsoft has already flaunted its AI’s ability to automate work-related tasks in a way that will almost certainly lead to layoffs, so this particular consequence of Copilot’s gaming integration feels right in line with already established dangers behind the technology. The irony there is that without guides writers to steal information from, AI models themselves will become less reliable as they have to feed on lower-tier sources with no way to tell accurate statements from misinformation. As AI companies have told Inverse, the underlying technology still needs humans, but who’s going to be left after automation?

Copilot is already infesting PCs, and next it’s coming directly to Microsoft games.

Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Getty Images

While it doesn’t compare to AI’s environmental consequences and the threat to people’s livelihoods, Copilot integration could ultimately change games themselves. Maybe it’s just me, but I want to actually play the games that I enjoy, not have an AI give me a list of chores to do in them. It will be down to individual players to decide if they want to use a city’s worth of electricity to save themselves from having to type “how to craft sword Minecraft” into Google, but it’s not hard to imagine that developers could be pressured to lean into AI integration. Imagine a game with as many secrets as Elden Ring, but designed to force players into consulting with an AI for answers rather than seeking them out for themselves.

Developers would also need to be on board for injecting AI into their games, which is something even Microsoft may have trouble convincing them to do. Unless, of course, Microsoft were to do something like buy up a bunch of existing companies, in which case it could simply force Copilot integration on them before laying off their entire staff and discarding the once-beloved studios like empty peanut shells.

Hanging above all these potential consequences is one simple question: Why? Maybe I’m not looking in the right places, but I’ve never seen a single person ask for anything like this proposed AI integration, or lament that it’s hard to find information about popular games. It is, in fact, extraordinarily easy to find everything from detailed breakdowns of every weapon in a game’s arsenal or step-by-step walkthroughs for every one of its quests.

Just like most uses of generative AI, Copilot’s gaming integration is motivated by nothing other than a tech giant’s pathological desire to extend itself into every aspect of your life. We may not be able to stop Microsoft or any other company from shoving AI in our faces at every turn, but we can at least mitigate the worst impact by loudly refusing to engage with them. And if you’re really that desperate to make a sword in Minecraft, you just put two ingots on top of a stick. You’re welcome.

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