Minecraft is now playing host to artificial intelligence programs in an attempt to improve machine learning.

Operating out of a New York-based Microsoft Research lab, Project AIX is an attempt to train an artificial intelligence to learn naturally in a complex world.

The program spawns into Minecraft knowing nothing about its environment, but learns based on interactions.

For example, AIX is currently tasked with climbing to the top of the highest hill, and it will quickly discover that falling into caves or interacting with creepers do not assist it in that task, but jumping up slopes does.

"We’re trying to program it to learn, as opposed to programming it to accomplish specific tasks," said Fernando Diaz, one of the researchers on the project.

Currently a purely academic project, AIX will reach the public later this year in an open-source release.