IS THE STRAIN of carving up the blocky world of Minecraft on your own proving too much? Then you may want to download an AI assistant to help you out, and programmers from Facebook Research have just the thing.
As you may have noticed, while AI can be inhumanly brilliant at some things, it's still dreadful at doing everything at once. The researchers, led by Arthur Szlam, believe Minecraft is the perfect environment to train AI to become a jack of all trades thanks to the sheet scope of it all: it has simple rules, but enormous variety in the way in which players follow them.
"Instead of superhuman performance on a single difficult task, we are interested in competency across a large number of simpler tasks, specified (perhaps poorly) by humans," the researchers write. "We believe we can make progress towards a useful assistant without having to be able to succeed at every possible request."
Here it is in action, in gif form, courtesy of the researchers:
This is not without its challenges, as you might expect. What sounds like a simple-ish request to you has to be carefully decoded by the bot. The researchers us this example: "Build a tower 15 blocks tall and then put a giant smiley on top."
"To succeed in executing this command, the assistant needs to understand what a ‘tower' is (and how to build one), understand that ‘15 blocks high' measures the height of the tower, and what ‘15' is," the researchers write. "It needs to know what a ‘smiley' is (and how to build it) and understand the relative position ‘top'."
This would get even more complex if the player then added another instruction: "wait, stop, make every other block red."
Still, you can't imagine a better environment to learn these lessons the hard way than in Minecraft. Not only can it watch and learn, but there are plenty of players to learn from: an estimated 90 million play every month.
If you're one of them and want to help train an initially dopey intern, then you can download the bot from Github. µ
Just remember, by today's standards, probably a load of old twaddle
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