You've probably seen the video by now showcasing a self-learning artificial intelligence capable of mastering old Atari video games. On The New Yorker, Nicola Twilley explores the recent article by Nature discussing the continued development of this brain-inspired software and the incredible distance between it and us.
DeepMind’s A.I. starts each game like an unhousebroken puppy. It is programmed to find a score rewarding, but is given no instruction in how to obtain that reward. Its first moves are random, made in ignorance of the game’s underlying logic. Some are rewarded with a treat—a score—and some are not. Buried in the DeepMind code, however, is an algorithm that allows the juvenile A.I. to analyze its previous performance, decipher which actions led to better scores, and change its future behavior accordingly. Combined with the deep neural network, this gives the program more or less the qualities of a good human gamer: the ability to interpret the screen, a knack for learning from past mistakes, and an overwhelming drive to win.
Whipping humanity’s ass at Fishing Derby may not seem like a particularly noteworthy achievement for artificial intelligence—nearly two decades ago, after all, I.B.M.’s Deep Blue computer beat Garry Kasparov, a chess grandmaster, at his own more intellectually aspirational game—but according to Zachary Mason, a novelist and computer scientist, it actually is.
|Turning a Large Circular Table into an Interactive Augmented Surface|
|George Lucas Wants Laser Company To Stop Making Lightsaber-like Lasers|
|"DragonflEye was created by genetically modifying regular dragonflies."|
|“I have magnets implanted in my hands.”|
|"Basically, our battery lasts forever."|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|“It's not more expensive to build and it's hugely cheaper and more efficient to live in.”|
|How to Make a Cheesecake that Looks Like Cheese|
|“But what about when those technologies destroy the environment?”|
|What Nothing Really Means in Seinfeld|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|Naked Preacher Lady [NSFW]|
|“How easy it is for anyone who tracks our digital activities to gain insight into our personalities.”|
|Fake Name Generator|
|If Sir David Attenborough Restored Vintage Toys|
|“A chain of endlessly recommended YouTube videos made by strangers motivated by advertising dollars.”|