London-based DeepMind Technologies, a startup acquired by Google in 2014, has conducted a research project whereby computers running general AI software were exposed to Atari 2600 games and told to play them without any instruction. The results were impressive.
The research marks another step towards the coming AI revolution. In Google Invents an AI System That Plays Video Games on Its Own, Bloomberg reports:
When the computers passed a level or racked up a high score, they were automatically rewarded with the digital equivalent of a dog treat. Google’s AI system surpassed the performance of expert humans in 29 games, and outperformed the best-known algorithmic methods for completing games in 43 instances. Some games, like Ms. Pac-Man, can’t be easily beaten with a mathematical formula. In others, like Video Pinball, the AI crushed human players with a system that was more than 20 times better than a professional human game tester.
The research is important groundwork for developing computers that can learn through experience, which, for example, will be instrumental for self-driving cars. Read the full article on Bloomberg, here.