As developers build more complex virtual worlds, this provides AI researchers with better ways of training the next generation of artificial intelligence. Games have long offered a proving ground for AI, but SpatialOS can help expand this proving ground, providing a way not only for AI agents to learn the successor to Second Life, but to navigate real city streets or even trace the path of contagious disease.
That's intriguing, but perhaps even moreso is this somewhat scary bit about how this is already being done with an existing virtual world and an AI-powered service that's literally on the road already -- Grand Theft-fricking-Auto:
That opens AI research to a few frontier. Game designers Dean Hall (creator of Day Z) and Henrique Olifiers (CEO of Bossa Studios, maker of World Adrift) say Improbable allows massively multiplayer games to achieve unprecedented complexity and scale. And in an effort to understand the impact of autonomous cars, a UK startup called Immense Simulations is using the service to model entire cities. “We can cover really large geographical areas,” says CEO Robin North, “but still keep a high level of detail.”
In the end, such simulations could also provide training grounds for those autonomous cars. Craig Quiter, an engineer at Otto, the robo-vehicle company owned by Uber, is training AI agents on Grand Theft Auto as a stepping stone to more advanced self-driving cars. Swap Grand Theft Auto for a simulation of the city of Manchester, and you get even closer to that goal. [Emph. mine!]
To be sure, the traffic AI agents in Grand Theft Auto (vehicular and pedestrian) are pretty orderly and benign until the a-hole player starts causing a ruckus. Still, it's a bit unnerving to think that those giant Otto trucks delivering beer partly got their start in GTA.
Update, 4:05pm: Possibly related (or not!): Video appears to show Uber self-driving car running red light in SF.
Please share this post: