Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced on Friday that its Project Malmo system, which tests Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the game Minecraft, is now open source, and anyone -with some knowledge in programming- are free to use it. Back in March, Microsoft unveiled an artificial intelligence platform based on Minecraft. At the time, it was called Project AIX.
It’s worth mentioning only a private beta version was available for AI academic researchers. The now-called Project Malmo allows using the Minecraft server as a platform where AI elements can be inserted. Researchers were looking to develop AI systems that could be trained to learn and accomplish tasks just the way humans do. Now that the platform is open to the public, anyone who has access to the code -which Microsoft made available on GitHub- can enjoy Minecraft as an AI laboratory.
The Project Malmo intends to develop AI systems that go further than completing pre-coded tasks and understanding just enough to know how to respond.
The system “is primarily designed to help researchers develop sophisticated, more general artificial intelligence, or AI, that can do things like learn, hold conversations, make decisions and complete complex tasks,” Microsoft describes in a blog post. “That’s key to creating systems that can augment human intelligence — and eventually help us with everything from cooking and doing laundry to driving and performing lifesaving tasks in an operating room,” the post continues.
The objective of the project goes beyond teaching the AI to do determined actions or say specific things. It focuses on making the AI comprehend the meaning and the reason behind those actions and the things it says.
— Patricia Johnson (@PatJohnsonW) March 15, 2016
Besides making the platform public, the Project Malmo’s team has made available for scientists the possibility to create bots that can learn how to talk, not simply to each other, but also to people.
Minecraft as a platform is ideal for AI research
The possibilities the world of Minecraft offers are endless. Scientists and developers can exploit the Project Malmo to teach AI systems activities like using tools, so they can craft on their many different things like tables or swords, as mentioned in the blog post.
As the world of Minecraft is so similar to the real world, the environment it offers is the ideal to experiment with AI systems. A new feature the public version of Project Malmo offers is the “Overlocking”, which allows developers to make their operations faster than usual.
This way, they can get the results sooner and work on the adjustments necessaries in a less amount of time. This way, AI can learn to do real-life tasks, such as climbing hills, building with blocks, and all kind of different activities, without the time and costs it would take to try the same things in real life.
“It’s accelerating the pace of those experiments,” Evelyne Viegas, director of AI outreach at Microsoft Research said in the blog post.
Another advantage to the Project Malmo system is that it can monitor the activities developed in detail. Advances registered can be shared with other researchers, and they can compare their results, allowing researchers to “much more easily collaborate, sharing research insights and bringing their findings together.”
AI experiments roam Minecraft's lands: Minecraft gains a tool that lets artificial intelligence experiments b… https://t.co/MEhvYUyuBT
— Torrent Datalab (@TorrentDatalab) July 8, 2016
Project Malmo is open to all coders, from beginners to students or the most experienced professors. According to the Microsoft blog post, academic research resulting from Project Malmo experiences are already being seen.
Source: Tech Times