Much like biological brains, artificially intelligent neural networks need training to
So, what’s an easy, accessible, and intuitive way to teach
these machines? Video games, of course! Specifically, Blizzard Entertainment’s
StarCraft II — a science-fiction-themed real-time strategy game.
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Why StarCraft II?
There’s a massive number of games to choose from — including
actual driving simulators. What makes StarCraft II special? Well, this game is
known for its easy-to-play, difficult-to-master gameplay. It tasks players with
managing dozens of individual units, each with unique skills, while also
balancing your resources and fending off enemies. While humans have a
relatively easy time picking up on StarCraft II’s gameplay, this complicated
mix of tasks can pose challenges to AI.
In other words, StarCraft II challenges the AI’s problem
spots. Google’s DeepMind system is learning the most efficient way to handle
these challenges through an algorithm called population-based training. This
algorithm speeds up the learning process by finding the most efficient methods
for the task at hand, then continually refining those methods.
DeepMind is also getting smarter through some
player-designed technology. Players have developed ways to make the game’s AI
smarter and more challenging. These lessons are being carried over to the
neural network’s training.
Just keep in mind that it’s all a work in progress. “We need to constantly retrain
the net and rewrite our code. And when you retrain, you may need to tweak your
More training, you say? Time to fire up StarCraft II!
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