Super Secretive Google DeepMind Open Sources AI Rocket Science

December 6, 2016

Take that IBM. And you Microsoft, I see you and raise you more smart software. The high stakes poker game for the control of the burgeoning market for smart software is getting exciting and expensive. The Google either bursts with confidence, or it fears that outfits like IBM and Microsoft are poised to run the table.

Navigate to the “real” news story “Google DeepMind Makes AI Training Platform Publicly Available.” You will learn that:

DeepMind is putting the entire source code for its training environment — which it previously called Labyrinth and has now renamed as DeepMind Lab — on the open-source depository GitHub, the company said Monday. Anyone will be able to download the code and customize it to help train their own artificial intelligence systems. They will also be able to create new game levels for DeepMind Lab and upload these to GitHub.

Is the move a response to auto maker, dreamer, and launcher of expensive fireworks Elon Musk’s puttering in smart software? The “real” news story said:

OpenAI, a rival research shop set up by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, venture capitalist Peter Thiel and Sam Altman, a founder of Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y Combinator, made its own AI training platform, called OpenAI Gym, available to the public in April [2016]. On Monday it also announced that it was making public an interface called Universe that lets an AI agent “use a computer like a human does: by looking at screen pixels and operating a virtual keyboard and mouse,” the company said in a statement. In short, it’s a go-between that lets an AI system learn the skills needed to play games or operate other applications. Researchers can use tools in OpenAI’s Gym to measure how these agents perform.

Why pay for artificial intelligence to perform the handful of tasks that the Harvard Business Review documented in the helpful write up “What Artificial Intelligence Can and Can’t Do Right Now.”

Perhaps free software will allow the capabilities of smart software to achieve the heights of wonder the marketers envision? How does one spell lock in?

Stephen E Arnold, December 6, 2016


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