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.
|Great Firewall of China|
|Printrbot: Desktop 3D Printer You Can Build in a Couple of Hours|
|Star Trek's holodeck coming soon|
|Turning Human Poop into Drinking Water and Electricity|
|The Bad Guys Beat GMail and Hotmail's Captcha|
|“What jobs will be created and what jobs will disappear?”|
|Gira Lab Universal Timer|
|Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|Boston Dynamics' Robot does Parkour|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|“Computer algorithms increasingly control and decide our future.”|
|“Long live the instant gratification economy—and the increasingly sophisticated technology that’s enabling it.”|
|Why, Typewriters Are Alive and Well, Thank you|
|“Robots are key to a new wave of local agriculture.”|
|“Authoritarianism depends upon people getting used to hearing the things that they want to hear.”|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|