Once was a time a graphics card handled just that. Graphics. But these days? Nvidia cards already handle physics processing, and by next year both Nvidia and ATI cards might handling AI as well.
Speaking with Custom PC, representatives from both graphics card manufacturers say that "they're working on GPGPU-accelerated AI in games", and that we could be seeing the first games and hardware to take advantage of this as early as next year.
Nvidia and ATI say they're working right now with developers of both games and middleware on the initiative, with the ultimate goal of taking all AI routines - which spend around 90% of their time performing visibility and path finding queries - off the hands of the CPU, and sticking them in your graphics card instead.
Only problem we can see - and it's a big one - is whether ATI and Nvidia would bother to actually standardise this, or whether we'd end up with two competing solutions that would split the developer community and make the whole thing a royal pain in the ass.
Nvidia and AMD to accelerate gaming AI on GPUs [Custom PC]