OpenAI, the artificial intelligence research organization founded by Elon Musk, has trained an AI to play Minecraft almost as well as humans. It only took about 70,000 hours to binge YouTube videos.
A blog post Detailing the feat reveals that researchers used a technique called “Video PreTraining (VPT)” to train a neural network to play Minecraft. This involved collecting 2000 hours of sample dataset from real people playing Minecraft to record not only the raw video, but also exact keystrokes and mouse movements.
From there, the researchers trained an inverse dynamics model (IDM) to predict the future action taken at each step in the videos. Finally, the “trained” IDM was shown 70,000 hours of Minecraft YouTube videos. After that, the model was able to copy the behavior of the videos, including cutting down trees to collect logs and converting the logs into a real work table.
That’s not all the AI model was capable of. It can also perform other complex activities such as swimming, hunting, and eating. The AI can even do “pillar jumping”, which involves keeping yourself in the air by jumping repeatedly and placing a block below yourself.
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The researchers were able to create a “base model” based on the data given to the AI and from there fine-tune behavior or learn new ones. It was noted that the AI could perform early game skills such as building wooden and stone tools, raiding chests, and even building shelters.
The more hours of data entered into the base model, the better the AI was. The researchers even used “reinforcement learning” to “reward” the AI for completing particularly difficult challenges. The reward system was used so effectively that the model was able to successfully create a diamond pickaxe, a task that required a long series of tasks.
This is a fascinating application of machine learning and shows how gaming can be used to train computers. Perhaps the AI model used could even be incorporated into games themselves to provide a more natural challenge, akin to playing against human opponents.
The AI could also improve the annoying boss fights in the new one Outriders Worldslayer campaign. In many ways, the new expansion for Outriders is exactly what fans want, but also keeps some of the less well-received aspects of the original game†
David Matthews is a freelance writer specializing in consumer technology and gaming. He also strongly believes that sugar does not go into grits. Follow him on Twitter @packetstealer