Create cognitive plugins for Minecraft with Bluemix, Docker, and Watson

Kyle Brown, IBM Developer Works, Dec 10, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

OK, this is really really brilliant, but it will take a lot of brainpower to comprehend and even more to follow the instructions and make the whole thing work. But the concept behind what's happening here must not be passed by, and knowledge of some of the mechanics is essential to understanding the new world of applications programming.

So here's the concept: you can put the intelligence of a large artificial intelligence like IBM's Watson into characters or objects that inhabit a virtual world like Minecraft. This is not theory; this 4-part tutorial provides detailed instructions on how to do exactly that. "you'll see how to build a plugin that uses the Watson Q&A service to answer questions about diseases — and then how to combine that plugin with another third-party Minecraft plugin that adds infectious diseases to your Minecraft villagers. When you combine the two, you get a reason within the game to learn about how to diagnose and treat a disease, as well as how to do so." Brilliant.

Along the way, you'll learn about a number of relatively recent but important building blocks forming the new internet (think of it as the real web 3.0). First is Docker. "Docker allows you to package an entire running system — all the way down to the operating system — into a single, lightweight package (not surprisingly, called a container) that you can then move from place to place." Next is Bluemix, " to take your Docker containers and run them not only on your local machine, but also in the cloud for others to access." You do this using Cloud Foundry. The coding is done inside the Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE). Via Doug Peterson. P.S. Tony Hirst sends another example of running an app with containers.

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