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AI Learns To Outsmart Humans In Video Games – And Real Life in 2023

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Driving around a French village in Gran Turismo, you might notice a Corvette trying to catch your slipstream.

Skilled players of PlayStation’s realistic racing game prefer to use the draft of an opponent’s racecar to speed up and overtake them.

But this Corvette driver isn’t being guided by a human — it’s GT Sophy, a powerful artificial intelligence agent created by Sony.

Gran Turismo players have been competing against computer-generated racecars since the franchise’s inception in the 1990s; the new AI driver released last week on Gran Turismo 7 is smarter and faster because it was trained using the most advanced AI methods.

“Gran Turismo had a built-in AI from the start, but it has a very narrow performance band and isn’t very good,” said Sony AI’s chief operating officer Michael Spranger. “It’s extremely predictable. It no longer entices you once you’ve reached a certain level.”

But now, he says, “this AI is going to fight back.”

When you visit an artificial intelligence laboratory at a university or a company like Sony, Google, Meta, Microsoft, or ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, it’s not uncommon to see AI agents like Sophy racing cars, slinging angry birds at pigs, fighting epic interstellar battles, or assisting human gamers in creating new Minecraft worlds – all part of the job description for computer systems trying to learn how to get smarter in games.

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it’s not uncommon to see AI agents like Sophy racing cars

However, in some cases, they also attempt to learn how to become smarter in the real world. A University of Cambridge researcher who created an AI agent to control Pokémon characters argued in a January paper that it could “inspire all sorts of applications that require team management under conditions of extreme uncertainty, such as managing a team of doctors, robots, or employees in an ever-changing environment, such as a pandemic-stricken region or a war zone.”

While this may sound like a child arguing for three more hours of Pokémon Violet, game research has been used to advance AI research — and train computers to solve complex problems — since the mid-20th century.

Initially, AI was used to test winning strategy games such as checkers and chess. A new field of study now focuses on performing open-ended tasks in complex worlds and interacting with humans rather than just beating them.

“Reality is like a super-complicated game,” said Nicholas Sarantinos, who co-wrote the Pokémon paper and recently turned down a doctoral offer at Oxford University to launch an AI company to assist corporate workplaces in forming more collaborative teams.

Tarantino created an algorithm to analyze a team of six Pokémon in the web-based Pokémon Showdown battle simulator, predicting how they would perform based on all of the possible battle scenarios ahead of them and their comparative strengths and weaknesses.

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That real humans behave very differently than fictional video game creatures,

Microsoft, which owns the popular Minecraft game franchise and the Xbox game system, has given AI agents tasks ranging from avoiding lava to chopping trees and building furnaces. Researchers hope that some of their discoveries will eventually play a role in real-world technology, such as how to program a home robot to do certain chores.

While it “goes without saying” that real humans behave very differently than fictional video game creatures, “the core ideas can still be used,” Tarantino says. “If you use psychological tests, you can use this information to determine how well they can collaborate.”

Amy Hoover, an assistant professor of informatics at the New Jersey Institute of Technology who developed algorithms for the digital card game Hearthstone, stated that “there is a reason for studying games,” but it is not always obvious.

“People don’t always get that the point is about the optimization method rather than the game,” she explained.

According to Vanessa Volz, an AI researcher at the Danish startup Modl.ai, which builds AI systems for game development, games also provide a useful testbed for AI, including some real-world robotics or healthcare applications that are safer to try in a virtual world.

“It can get overhyped,” she adds.

“It’s unlikely that there will be one big breakthrough, and everything will be shifted to the real world,” Volz predicted.

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Sony launched its own AI research division in 2020

Sony launched its own AI research division in 2020 with entertainment in mind, but it has nonetheless attracted broader academic interest. Its research paper introducing Sophy was featured on the cover of the prestigious science journal Nature last year, with the journal stating that it could have implications for other applications such as drones and self-driving vehicles.

Sophy’s technology is based on an algorithmic method known as reinforcement learning, which trains the system by rewarding it when it gets something right as it runs thousands of virtual races.

“The reward will tell you that you’re making progress. ‘This is good,’ or ‘You’ve gone off the rails. “Well, that’s not good,” I say. Spranger explained.

At tournaments, the world’s best Gran Turismo players continue to finish ahead of Sophy, but average players will find it difficult to beat — and can adjust difficulty settings depending on how much they want to be challenged.

PlayStation players can only race against Sophy on a limited number of circuits until March 31, so it can gather feedback and return to testing. According to Peter Wurman, director of Sony AI America and project lead on GT Sophy, training AI agents on 20 PlayStations takes about two weeks.

“It will take some more breakthroughs and time before we’re ready,” he said.

And getting it onto real-world streets or Formula One track? That could take a long time.

Autonomous vehicle companies use similar machine-learning techniques, but “they don’t hand over complete control of the car the way we can,” Wurman said. “In a simulated world, no one’s life is in danger. You know exactly what you’re going to see in the environment. There are no cars on the road or anything like that.”

SOURCE – (AP)

 

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

Electronics

Dyson To Axe Around 1,000 Jobs In Britain

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Dyson, a vacuum cleaner company, will slash approximately 1,000 positions in Britain as part of a global restructuring.

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Dyson | NY Times Image

Dyson To Axe Around 1,000 Jobs In Britain

James Dyson, the inventor of the bagless cleaner, founded the company, which employs 3,500 people in Britain, including at its R&D facility in Malmesbury, West England.

On Tuesday, Chief Executive Hanno Kirner stated, “We have grown quickly and, like all companies, we review our global structures on a regular basis to ensure we are prepared for the future.” As a result, we are suggesting organizational modifications that may lead to redundancy.

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Dyson | Joe Graham Image

Dyson To Axe Around 1,000 Jobs In Britain

“Dyson works in highly competitive global marketplaces where innovation and change are fast. We understand that we must always be entrepreneurial and adaptable – characteristics that Dyson has long valued.

SOURCE | AP

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Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

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Sony | Pixa Bay Image

TOKYO — Sony, a Japanese electronics and entertainment company, says it will focus on innovation in movies, animation, and video games rather than traditional gadgetry.

Its CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, described the company’s plan Thursday, saying Sony was assisting creative workers in delivering what he called “kando,” a moving experience.

Yoshida would not comment on claims that Tokyo-based Sony and Apollo Global Management are interested in acquiring Paramount Global.

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Sony | Pixa Bay Image

Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

Yoshida stated that the business now focuses on the creative process rather than valuing prior items such as the Walkman portable music player and Trinitron color televisions. He stated that “synergies” are no longer defined by entertainment and electronics but by intellectual property encompassing animation, music, gaming, and films.

In an online briefing, he stated, “We will continue to support people’s creativity through our technology.”

Sony is adapting to harsher circumstances, as competitors produce cheaper but competitive gadgets. According to critics, pursuing careers in film, music, and other forms of entertainment can be financially difficult.

Beginning with the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing in 2018, Sony has invested over 1.5 trillion yen ($10 billion) in the last six years to boost its content creation.

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Sony | Pixa Bay Image

Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

In 2021, it bought Crunchyroll, which has over 13 million paid customers and distributes Japanese cartoons worldwide. Another was Yoasobi, a Japanese music duet that uses Vocaloid technology, or singing voice synthesizer software, and has gained a global following.

Sony’s real-time computer technology, which records “this moment,” as Yoshida called it, is employed in sports cameras because it can catch fast-moving subjects without distortion

According to Yoshida, it is also utilized for news coverage and editing, 3D video and computer graphics, including successful movies like “Godzilla Minus One” and games based on human athlete movements

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Sony | AP News Image

Sony Says Focus Is On Creativity, With Games, Movies, Music, Sensors, IP, And Not Gadgets

Sony recently recorded a quarterly profit of 189 billion yen ($1.2 billion), up from 141 billion yen the year before. The PlayStation gaming machine manufacturer’s quarterly revenue increased 14% to 3.48 trillion yen ($22 billion).

However, for the fiscal year ending March 31, Sony’s profit fell 3% to 970 billion yen ($6.2 billion) due to poor performance in its financial services sector, which will be largely split off next year.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Amazon’s Self-Driving Robotaxi Unit Zoox Under Investigation By US After 2 Rear-End Crashes

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DETROIT — The US government’s highway safety department is looking into Amazon’s self-driving robotaxi company after two vehicles braked unexpectedly and were rear-ended by motorcyclists.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Monday that it will assess Zoox’s automated driving system.

Both accidents occurred during the sunlight, and the riders sustained minor injuries. In all cases, the agency established that the Amazon vehicles operated in autonomous mode before the crashes.

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AP – VOR News Image

Amazon’s Self-Driving Robotaxi Unit Zoox Under Investigation By US After 2 Rear-End Crashes

According to the government, the investigation will focus on the performance of the company’s automated driving system during the crashes and how it operates in crosswalks near pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.

A message was left early Monday requesting a response from the company.

Zoox reported the crashes by a requirement granted to automated vehicle firms in 2021.

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Zoox – VOR News Image

Amazon’s Self-Driving Robotaxi Unit Zoox Under Investigation By US After 2 Rear-End Crashes

According to estimates, Amazon paid more than $1 billion for Zoox in June 2020. In 2023, the Foster City, California-based business announced that one of its unique-looking four-person shuttles would automatically transport personnel on public highways along a mile-long (1.6-kilometer) route between two facilities.

The corporation then planned to develop an exclusive shuttle service for its employees. Analysts believe Amazon will deploy the system for autonomous deliveries.

The cars feature no steering wheel or pedals. The interior is carriage-style, with two benches facing each other. It is a little under 12 feet (3.7 meters) long, about a foot (a third of a meter) shorter than a conventional Mini Cooper, and can reach 35 mph (56 km/h).

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Zoox – VOR News Image

Amazon’s Self-Driving Robotaxi Unit Zoox Under Investigation By US After 2 Rear-End Crashes

The company was already under investigation by the NHTSA. In March 2022, the government began investigating the company’s certification that its car fulfilled federal safety standards for motor vehicles.

The agency stated at the time that it would investigate if Zoox used its testing techniques to establish that certain federal criteria did not apply due to the robotaxi’s unique configuration.

SOURCE – (AP)

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