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When Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 comes out on Nov. 10, all players’ voice chats will be silently monitored by artificial intelligence. The AI-powered moderation technology, Toxmod, is designed to identify toxic speech in real time in multiplayer games to create a friendlier battlefield. But will the AI chat-nanny ban you for trash-talking your buddies? Does it mean you can’t curse?

What kind of speech will Call of Duty’s AI moderation flag?

According to Activision, Modern Warfare 3‘s AI moderation is programmed to identify hate speech, discriminatory language, harassment, sexism, and bullying, all of which are prohibited by Call of Duty’s code of conduct. The AI will join a text-filtering and player-reporting system as part of the overall moderation strategy.

Will the Call of Duty AI moderator listen for specific words?

If you’re hoping to not be flagged by the robot police while playing Call of Duty, there are no “bad words” to avoid. It’s more about players’ intent. Trash-talking is an integral part of online gaming culture—a fact that Activision acknowledges in its Q&A about the AI moderation—and the AI aims to determine the difference between harassment or bullying and good-natured ribbing between friends.

According to Activision, ToxMod’s goal is “detecting harm within voice chat,” instead of listening for specific keywords. Modulate, the company behind ToxMod, says its software can “understand all the nuance of voice. It goes beyond transcription to consider emotion, speech acts, listener responses, and much more.”

Like all claims from artificial intelligence companies, take this with a grain of salt. No offense to Modulate, but determining what speech is harmful or harassing is complex, and AI screws things up a ton. How well Toxmod will actually be able to moderate life-speech, especially at scale when a huge game like COD:MW3 comes out, remains to be seen.

Will players be banned by the AI moderator in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3?

While Toxmod is designed to provide faster moderation than the current player-report system, it won’t insta-ban a player if it doesn’t like their tone of voice. If Toxmod detects violations of its Code of Conduct, Activision promises it will only report the incident. From there, humans (presumably) at the company will determine whether it merits enforcement.

Can players opt-out of AI voice chat moderation in Modern Warfare 3?

If you’re rather not have your online interactions judged and reported by robot police, your only option is to disable voice chat—if you talk to people in the game, the AI is going to be listening.

When does AI moderation start in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3?

While the real-time AI chat moderation will be in use on a large scale when COD:MW3 comes out on Nov. 10, the beta rollout is already live as of Aug. 30 inside the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Warzone.



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