AI Town
More Than Just a Game: AI Town Simulates Sociable AI in a Customizable World YouTube Screenshot / Convex

"AI Town" is a virtual world powered by large language models (LLMs) like OpenAI's GPT-4 and Meta's Llama 3. Here, AI-powered characters can live, chat with each other, and even form social bonds.

"AI Town," an open-source project built by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) on the Convex platform, lets developers create their own simulated worlds populated by AI-powered characters.

This "always-on Sims-like" environment is a testing ground for various language models, allowing them to interact freely and develop their capabilities. Unlike "The Sims," where characters follow pre-scripted instructions, AI Town's inhabitants have a degree of free will.

inhabitants of "AI Town" hold conversations, explore their world, and build relationships that shape their personalities. In August 2023, the a16z team announced on X that the goal of this ambitious project is to "democratise building your own simulation environment with AI agents."

Thanks to a local version of the Convex platform, running "AI Town" on a MacBook is now a breeze. This local setup leverages Meta's Llama 3 language model to power each character. You can even interact with them. To find their self-developed bio and a history of their conversations, you only need to click any of them.

'AI Town': What Is the Point Of This Virtual World?

AI Town's foundation lies in a groundbreaking research paper by Google and Stanford. This paper used GPT-3.5 to create a virtual world where AI agents, prompted by the system, could live and interact within a simulated small town.

Each agent, powered by LLMs, took control of a character with a pre-defined occupation and personality. As these characters interacted with their world and each other, their relationships deepened, and their personalities evolved organically.

Known for its gaming investments, VC firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) is exploring AI's potential in development and gameplay. Their open-source project, "AI Town," serves as a showcase for interactive LLM characters. You can easily run or adapt it on your computer.

"AI Town" gives us a glimpse into the future of AI-powered gaming. Potentially, future Sims games could be powered by LLMs, allowing each Sim to hold conversations, develop unique personalities, and even challenge your instructions.

How Does 'AI Town' Work?

"AI Town" offers two ways to play. You can jump right in by visiting their website and clicking "interact" to explore the world alongside others. This is a great starting point, but it offers limited control over the environment.

For a more customised experience, you can set up "AI Town" on your local device. However, this requires at least 16GB of RAM and is currently only compatible with Mac and Linux operating systems.

Pinokio.Computer, the maker of the Cocktail Peanut hardware, created a one-click installer to simplify and expedite the local setup process. This installer handles all the code and provides a link to launch the game in your browser.

With local access, you can customise the world, set starting prompts, and observe how your AI town grows and evolves. "AI Town" also serves as a powerful tool showcasing the potential of AI agents, which are considered the next major leap for LLMs after chatbots.

These agents can revolutionise how AI interacts with the world. Imagine AI agents autonomously performing tasks like booking travel, scheduling appointments, or (hopefully, just a joke!) launching missiles.

AI's influence extends far beyond gaming. For instance, AI companies are developing innovative educational tools, such as avatar teachers creating engaging math content for students. Likewise, a company called Delphi AI is offering a platform where users can create digital replicas of themselves capable of handling tasks like attending Zoom meetings.