Facebook Uses Minecraft To Make a Super AI
Generalist AI is being trained with help from the popular blocky game.
Facebook is trying to teach artificial intelligence with the help of Minecraft to be self-dependent. The researching team strives to design a generalist AI capable of learning and making decisions on its own. Minecraft, with its create-all-you-want gameplay, seems a perfect tool.
Robot With a Minecraft PhD
Efforts of the Facebook team are focused on creating a generalist AI. An artificial brain that will be able to solve tasks decently, nearly without a human's interaction. Such a robot could be capable of creating its own tasks or finding new ones when its "bucket list" gets empty.
This is quite a contrast in comparison with the currently existing types of "self-aware" AI that can barely recognize a gouache-drawn picture. And reproduce it without making it look like a sketch by Hans Giger.
Of course, we have the likes of Siri and Google Assistant that can decipher natural human speech, do simple tasks and even make a conversation. But still, there are some unresolved problems. NLU (natural language understanding) used by them, remains inflexible. It can only execute the commands written by its Python-coding maker.
What Facebook strives to sculpt is a modular type system. A Virtual Assistant can improve on its own. Such 'intellectual growth" must be based on the practical experience obtained by AI. And this is when Minecraft comes into play.
Voxel Pickaxe + Mobs = Brainy Bot
If you've never seen Minecraft before, it's an online game based on mining materials and crafting items from them. New missions and goals regularly pop up in its blocky universe. A player should have an ample supply of resources, a shelter, and weaponry to fend off the enemies.
FB team is working to design an AI that can receive commands from a Minecrafter. The AI should be capable of accepting at least basic tasks and finishing them. In other words, repetitive, but the necessary routine of grinding metal ore, slaying mobs or crafting another crossbow will be outsourced to the bot.
According to the project's paper, creators seek to fulfill three goals:
- Establish synergy between machine/non-machine learning.
- Design natural language simulation so the AI will understand what you want it to do.
- Give the AI an ability to learn from the player's performance and improve.
That's what the authors say: "We intend that the player will be able to specify tasks through dialogue (rather than by just issuing commands) so that the agent can ask for missing information, or the player can interrupt the agent’s actions to clarify. In addition, we hope dialogue to be useful for providing rich supervision."
The whole idea sounds quite promising. Millions of players might assign the AI to do the dirty job of grinding for them. So, the player's in-game presence can be diminished, giving them more free time to live life. On the other hand, it may seriously undermine the concept of online competition. Unlike a human player, the bot can barely screw up a headshot in the likes of PUBG/Fortnite.
Skynet's Humble Origins?
Games have already served a scientific purpose in the past. When a pandemic of the Corrupted Blood infected the entire WoW, epidemiologists saw the game as a perfect platform for modeling and predicting the behavior of epidemic diseases. And now It's Minecraft's turn to raise a reliable and self-teaching artificial brain. Well, let's see how good it'll be at mining blocks.