Fully Funded AHRC PhD Scholarship: Artificial Intelligence in Analogue and Digital Games

We are pleased to announce that we have secured funding from the AHRC’s North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership for a PhD Scholarship on Artificial Intelligence in Analogue and Digital Games to commence in September 2018 at Manchester Metropolitan University. You can apply for the PhD Scholarship here.

The Imitation Game: Artificial Intelligence in Analogue and Digital Games


Taking its title from Alan Turing’s ‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’, this project approaches Artificial Intelligence (AI) from the perspective of the analogue (non-digital), taking instances of AI in analogue games as a point of entry into understanding the issues relating to the everyday dialogues between the human and the mechanical.

Responding to an analogue turn within the games industry, this PhD studentship is designed to initiate new research into AI as it takes an analogue form within contemporary tabletop games (e.g., board, card and roleplaying games). In order to examine the differing behavioural, experiential, and design aspects as they relate to the materiality of AI across a wide range of often intersecting platforms, the research on analogue AI will take place alongside an investigation of AI in digital games. In this regard, the student will have the opportunity to work with industry experts in both digital and analogue gaming from Sony Interactive Entertainment and Steamforged Games Ltd.

Aims and objectives

While candidates are encouraged to develop and pursue their own lines of critical enquiry, the supervisory team is keen to support research around one or more of the following questions:

  • In what ways might the study of AI in analogue games provide insight into digital AI (and vice versa)?
  • What would be the parameters of an analogue AI?
  • What challenges and opportunities does AI afford digital storytellers?
  • What is the role of the human (Turing’s ‘human computer’) in twenty-first century AI?
  • In what ways might the games industry benefit from understanding the intersection between the digital and the analogue?

Candidates must have qualifications of the standard of a good honours degree at first or upper second class level, from a UK academic institution and a Masters level qualification in a subject relevant to the research area.

The successful candidate will be working on games and with members of the games industry and as such a knowledge of, and interest in, analogue and digital games is essential. While the specifics of the project will vary, we expect that candidates will have an understanding of literary/narrative theory, Artificial Intelligence, and games theory/design. Depending on the specifics of the project, experience of conducting qualitative research might also be required. Candidates will be expected to work alongside industry partners, thus experience of partnership working and relationship building is also critical. The project will involve some travel around Manchester and some occasional national travel for conferences and meetings.

For full details of eligibility (both academic and residential) please see the Guidance to Candidates on the NWCDTP website.

Further details and how to apply

If you would like to discuss applying for this project please contact Dr Paul Wake (p.wake@mmu.ac.uk).

Full  details on the application can be found here.