Ah, Doom. Who knows where we’d be today if it weren’t for the innovation that made you the granddaddy of first-person shooters? Probably one of the things that’s helping to keep id Software’s iconic game alive after all these years is the fact that it can be ported to just about anything. It’s even possible to play Doom inside Doom itself.
As you can imagine, many people have attempted to see what crazy methods they can to play this legendary FPS. Now, some scientists are doing something a little different. Namely, they want to see if it’s possible to grow their own neurons that can be taught to play games. And yes, they want to see if they will be able to control Doom.
A video from the YouTube channel The Thought Emporium goes into detail about the hypothesis. The basic idea is to be able to hook up some lab-grown rat neurons to a computer that will be able to play Doom, at least in a rudimentary fashion.
This latest video begins with the initial attempt at growing neurons (did you know you could just buy neurons off the internet?), which are fed specific chemicals in order to keep them healthy. A roadmap shows the steps that need to be taken in order to get this basic brain to play Doom.
How will the neurons know they’re playing Doom?
Obviously, this is a very complicated process, and there are multiple steps (and sub-steps) before the desired result can be achieved. It also doesn’t sound like it’s going to be playing Doom the way you and I would.
In this instance, The Thought Emporium intends to “reward” the grown neurons through sound, as they won’t be able to actually see what they’re doing in the game. For example, a sound they’ll “like” (in the loosest term) will be emitted when they kill a demon or do something they’re supposed to do. Conversely, a sound they “dislike” will be emitted if they do something they shouldn’t, such as falling into toxic waste and dying.
Back in 2021, another scientist wanted to see if rats could play Doom 2 by controlling a sphere that was hooked up to the game. What this newest experiment does is even more mind-melting. Actually growing neurons in a lab in order to play video games is something only the maddest of scientists with the craziest of hairstyles would ever attempt.