AI smashes video game high scores by remembering its past success

New Scientist 

Montezuma's Revenge is one of the most challenging Atari games An artificial intelligence that can remember its previous successes and use them to create new strategies has achieved record high scores on some of the hardest video games on classic Atari consoles. Many AI systems use reinforcement learning, in which an algorithm is given positive or negative feedback on its progress towards a particular goal after each step it takes, encouraging it towards a particular solution. This technique was used by AI firm DeepMind to train AlphaGo, which beat a world champion Go player in 2016. Adrien Ecoffet at Uber AI Labs and OpenAI in California and his colleagues hypothesised that such algorithms often stumble upon encouraging avenues but then jump to another area in the hunt for something more promising, leaving better solutions overlooked. "What do you do when you don't know anything about your task?" says Ecoffet. "If you just wave your arms around, it's unlikely that you're ever going to make a coffee."

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