‘Doom’ Creator Says AI Can Do a Lot of Things—Except Be Original

Artificial intelligence has already changed the way developers create video games. But while AI is a powerful tool for creating images and music based on prompts, ID Software co-founder and Doom co-creator John Romero says it still can’t create something genuinely new.

In a restrospective interview with Ars Technica, Romero expressed skepticism about how much of an effect generative artificial intelligence would actually have on gaming.

“It’s important for us to be super original,” he said. “Generative AI depends on databases of information that is stuff that’s already created, and we’re trying to create a brand-new thing.”

Game studios have enlisted AI for tasks ranging from upgrading non-player characters to moderating toxic chatrooms to recreating the voices of deceased voice actors. Its use in creative tasks, however, is more controversial. One survey found half of game developers have used AI—but even more of them are concerned about the technology.

Romero said that while AI is advancing, it has not gotten to the point that it can design and collaborate the way human artists can.

“Making brand new things is not what generative AI does yet—I know they’re working on trying to do that—but it’s important that when you’re making an original game, you’re using your design sense and working with people and coming up with things that you have not seen before,” he said. “So you are limited by generative AI if you are trying to use it that way.”

While Romero said generative AI is good for research—describing it as a “super-Google” for answering questions—he was also skeptical of how AI models are trained.

“When it’s used to come up with images or creative concepts, that’s problematic because that’s not coming from your own data,” Romero told the outlet, emphasizing the importance of ethically using AI and compensating the sources used to train the AI.

Romero did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Decrypt.

Released in 1993, Doom is a classic video game that has also found a niche role as a test for blockchain technology. Crypto developers often use it to showcase the ability of a blockchain—including Bitcoin and Dogecointo support and run the decades-old software. Even OpenAI’s flagship chatbot, ChatGPT, has attempted to play Doom.

In February, aiming to prove that Doom can indeed run on anything, Swedish power-tool manufacturer Husqvarna partnered with ID Software to launch a lawn mower-based version of Doom.

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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