AI learns how to tackle new situations by studying how humans play games

nestor ai paying attention artificial intelligence
If artificial intelligence is going to excel at driving cars or performing other complex tasks that we humans take for granted, then it needs to learn how to respond to unknown circumstances. That is the task of machine learning, which needs real-world examples to study.

So far, however, most data used to train machine-learning systems comes from virtual environments. A group of researchers, including a Microsoft Research scientist from the U.K., have set out to change that by using game replay data that can show an AI how humans tackle complex problems.

The researchers used Atari 2600 game replays to provide real-world data to a deep learning system that uses trial and error, or reinforcement learning (RL), to tackle new tasks in a previously unknown environment. The data used in the study represents what the researchers called the “largest and most diverse such data set” that has ever been publicly released.

The data was gathered by making a web-based Atari 2600 emulator, called the Atari Grand Challenge, available using the Javatari tool written in Javascript. The researchers used a form of gamified crowdsourcing, which leveraged people’s desire to play games in order to be helpful along with a reward mechanism that ranked each player’s performance.

Around 9.7 million frames or about 45 hours of gameplay time were collected and analyzed. Five games were used in creating the data based on their varying levels of difficulty and complexity: Video Pinball, Qbert, Space Invaders, Ms. Pac-Man, and Montezuma’s Revenge.

The results have been promising so far. By feeding information into the system like player actions taken during the games, in-game rewards, and current scores, the researchers were able to demonstrate the value of using this kind of data to train machine learning systems. Going forward, the researchers hope to use professional players to improve the data’s ability to train AI that is even better at responding to unknown situations.

Product Review

Origin's Chronos PC is no looker, but it plays games with eye-popping detail

The Chronos is Origin’s smallest PC, but while it occupies less space than most A/V receivers, it delivers the power of a much larger desktop. Its dull exterior design does the system a disservice. Once you turn it on, you won’t be…

It's not all free money. Here's what to know before you try to mine Bitcoin

Mining Bitcoin today is harder than it used to be, but if you have enough time, money, and cheap electricity, you can still turn a profit. Here's how to get started mining Bitcoin at home and in the cloud.

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.

Pinning websites to your taskbar is as easy as following these quick steps

Would you like to know how to pin a website to the taskbar in Windows 10 in order to use browser links like apps? Whichever browser you're using, it's easier than you might think. Here's how to get it done.

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.

How good are you at spotting phishing scams? Take this quiz to find out

Are you able to discern between a legitimate email and one that's a scam designed to phish for your personal information? Google created an online quiz with tips to help you better understand phishing so you don't become a victim.

Can't stand keyboard gaming on PC? Here's how to use a PS3 controller instead

Properly connecting a PlayStation 3 Controller to a PC is no easy task, especially when you opt for third-party peripherals. Thankfully, our guide will help you through the process.

Zipping files on a Chromebook? Follow these four easy steps

Chromebooks support file compression, though they work a little differently than on Windows or Mac. Here's the step-by-step process to zipping files on a Chromebook, and then unzipping them again for extraction.

Yes, you can use Android apps on your Chromebook. Here's how

You can now get Android apps on your Chromebook! Google has enabled the Google Play Store app support on its Chrome OS and Chromebook hardware, so to get you started, here's our guide on how to get Android apps on a Chromebook.

Patent application reveals what’s to come after AMD’s Graphics Core Next

A published patent application from AMD has revealed a new type of graphics processor core which could make a big difference to the capabilities of its GPUs if it finds its way into them in the future.

Microsoft targets Chrome OS with $189 Windows 10 laptops for education

Microsoft announced seven new low-cost Windows 10 laptops, all priced under $300 to take on Chromebooks and iPads in the education market, along with a new Microsoft Allora stylus for students using the Surface Go tablet.

Lenovo patent hints at a future tablet with a folding screen

Folding devices are a new trend, and according to a recent patent, Lenovo is considering a foldable 2-in-1 with a hinge mechanism that would allow consumers to bend back the screen on the device. 

Wifi Porter is a high-tech block of wood that lets you share your broadband

Tired of manually connecting your guests to your home Wi-Fi network? The latest invention from the folks at Ten One Design, the WifiPorter, allow individuals to connect to your Wi-Fi with the tap of their phone, or by scanning an available…