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AI Games

Neural Net Learns Breakout By Watching It On Screen, Then Beats Humans 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-can-it-eat-doritos-all-day? dept.
KentuckyFC writes "A curious thing about video games is that computers have never been very good at playing them like humans by simply looking at a monitor and judging actions accordingly. Sure, they're pretty good if they have direct access to the program itself, but 'hand-to-eye-co-ordination' has never been their thing. Now our superiority in this area is coming to an end. A team of AI specialists in London have created a neural network that learns to play games simply by looking at the RGB output from the console. They've tested it successfully on a number of games from the legendary Atari 2600 system from the 1980s. The method is relatively straightforward. To simplify the visual part of the problem, the system down-samples the Atari's 128-colour, 210x160 pixel image to create an 84x84 grayscale version. Then it simply practices repeatedly to learn what to do. That's time-consuming, but fairly simple since at any instant in time during a game, a player can choose from a finite set actions that the game allows: move to the left, move to the right, fire and so on. So the task for any player — human or otherwise — is to choose an action at each point in the game that maximizes the eventual score. The researchers say that after learning Atari classics such as Breakout and Pong, the neural net can then thrash expert human players. However, the neural net still struggles to match average human performance in games such as Seaquest, Q*bert and, most importantly, Space Invaders. So there's hope for us yet... just not for very much longer."
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Neural Net Learns Breakout By Watching It On Screen, Then Beats Humans

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  • I for one (Score:5, Funny)

    by fisted (2295862) on Friday December 27, 2013 @11:19AM (#45796219)
    I for one welcome our new virtual ass-kicking overlords.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 27, 2013 @11:30AM (#45796315)

    This neural-net-combined-with-trial-and-error style of algorithm is typically referred to as a "JavaScript Programmer"-type algorithm in recent AI literature. (I'm being completely serious, too, in case you think this is a joke; it isn't.)

    The name derives from the similarity between how these kinds of algorithms work, and how JavaScript programmers tend to work.

    Both the algorithms and JavaScript programmers use a very basic, minute form of pseudo-intelligence.

    This small dab of pseudo-intelligence is then used to repeatedly attempt to solve a problem, followed by an analysis of the success of the attempt.

    In the case described in this article, it involves the computer trying to play the game, with the aim of winning.

    In the case of the JavaScript programmer, it involves the programmer repeatedly searching through Stack Overflow, finding code to copy-and-paste, and then hoping that it works well enough to trick the customer or employer into thinking the job is done.

    The summary should have probably mentioned this, but I suspect that the submitter may not be following the latest AI journals and research very closely.

  • by cfulton (543949) on Friday December 27, 2013 @11:42AM (#45796433)
    Truer words were never spoken:

    the programmer repeatedly searching through Stack Overflow, finding code to copy-and-paste, and then hoping that it works well enough to trick the customer or employer into thinking the job is done."

  • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Friday December 27, 2013 @04:33PM (#45799639)

    You were just asking for an oblig [xkcd.org], weren't you?

    http://xkcd.com/347/ [xkcd.com] ...now that was truly obligatory.

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