OpenAi and Alphabet Open Up New Artificial Intelligence Tools
As 2016 progressed, a whole slew of applications for the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning spaces were open sourced, and now pundits are predicting that AI could be poised to spark transformative change around the world. In response, Elon Musk has stepped in with the formation of OpenAI, which will focus on anticipating the challenges that AI will present in the coming years.
Microsoft recently joined this group, and Google and others are working with it too. This organization is one to watch, and now it is helping to usher in new AI applications.
DeepMind, Alphabet's artificial intelligence group, announced announced recently that it is open sourcing DeepMind Lab, its 3D gameified platform for agent-based AI research. Musk's OpenAI project is working with this tool and others. According to Alphabet:
"DeepMind's scientific mission is to push the boundaries of AI, developing systems that can learn to solve any complex problem without needing to be taught how. To achieve this, we work from the premise that AI needs to be general. Agents should operate across a wide range of tasks and be able to automatically adapt to changing circumstances. That is, they should not be pre-programmed, but rather, able to learn automatically from their raw inputs and reward signals from the environment. There are two parts to this research program: (1) designing ever-more intelligent agents capable of more-and-more sophisticated cognitive skills, and (2) building increasingly complex environments where agents can be trained and evaluated."
OpenAI, which also has support from Amazon Web Services and other groups, has also announced Universe, a software tool for measuring and training AI intelligence through games, websites, and other applications. According to OpenAI:
"Universe allows an AI agent to use a computer like a human does: by looking at screen pixels and operating a virtual keyboard and mouse. We must train AI systems on the full range of tasks we expect them to solve, and Universe lets us train a single agent on any task a human can complete with a computer.
In April, we launched Gym, a toolkit for developing and comparing reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms. With Universe, any program can be turned into a Gym environment. Universe works by automatically launching the program behind a VNC remote desktop — it doesn't need special access to program internals, source code, or bot APIs.
Microsoft has also announced a new partnership with OpenAI. The upshot of the deal is that OpenAI will use Microsoft Azure for its large scale experiments. Here is more on what OpenAI is focused on:
"OpenAI is a non-profit artificial intelligence research company. Our goal is to advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return."
That sounds worth following up on, and we will, especially as new open sourced AI tools arrive.