Are you a wizard or a fighter? Let artificial intelligence decide

Image of Dungeons and Dragons dice.
Through the Biometric DnD project researchers want to encourage a discussion about the ethics of these forms of AI.

University of Melbourne researchers are exploring the intersection of facial recognition technology and the Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) gaming experience as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week 2021.

As part of the Biometric D&D project, researchers have created an application that uses a photo of someone’s face to create personalised attributes for a game character.

The project uses a single photo and facial recognition technology to determine scores for strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom and charisma. Artificial Intelligence (AI) assigns a class such as wizard or fighter, determining if the character is perceived as good or evil.

Lead researcher Dr Melissa Rogerson, human-computer interaction and gameplay researcher at the University’s School of Computing and Information Systems, said Biometric D&D offers a very different method of character creation.

“By creating a character based on a photo we are removing one of the biggest hurdles when learning to play and making it easier for someone to start playing D&D,” Dr Rogerson said.

“Players typically take on the role of D&D characters that are unlike them but with Biometric D&D, the character takes on the role of the player. We’re interested in how that difference impacts the experience of play.”

Biometric D&D follows the footsteps of the Biometric Mirror project developed at the University’s Interaction Design Lab with support from Science Gallery Melbourne.

Dr Niels Wouters said the Biometric Mirror project confronted people with the notion that a computer could make assumptions about your personality and even assign scores for your aggressiveness, attractiveness, kindness, trustworthiness and other attributes, based solely on a photo of your face.

“We understand that a computer assigning an intelligence score and an evilness rating might make some people feel uneasy, but this technology already exists. Through the Biometric D&D research we want to encourage a discussion about the ethics of these forms of AI and our relationship with facial recognition technology,” Dr Wouters said.

People will be able create their Biometric D&D characters at the Biometric D&D booth at the Meat Market hub during Melbourne Knowledge Week, and online as well.

From 26 April to 2 May during Melbourne Knowledge Week live D&D gaming sessions will take place for people wanting to play using their Biometric D&D characters.

This initiative is supported by University of Melbourne’s School of Computing and Information Systems, part of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology.

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