The creator of AlphaGo shows with this simple brick breaker game how AI will be able to surpass its creators in the future
Demis Hassabis is one of the creators of the AlphaGo computer program that defeated the champion Lee Sedol in March 2016. He is also the co-founder and CEO of “DeepMind”, Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) innovation laboratory.
In the documentary “AlphaGo” (2017), which was released on Netflix US on January 2, 2018, Hassabis showed, with a simple brick-breaking game, how artificial intelligence and deep-learning could surpass the knowledge of those who created it.
He showed how his teams trained an algorithm to play this seemingly simplistic game.
“He had to learn everything by himself, just from the raw pixels. He doesn’t even know what the goal of the game is,” the CEO of DeepMind begins.
Demis Hassabis. Screenshot “AlphaGo” (2017).
After 100 generated games, the computer begins to understand that it needs to catch up with the ball in order to throw it on the bricks. After 300 games, he reaches the level of a human, and catches up with the ball almost every time.
But it was after 500 games that artificial intelligence, which learned for itself, found a way to knock down as many bricks as possible:
“He found that the optimal strategy was to dig a tunnel on the side with the ball and allow it to go around the wall,” Demis Hassabis showed.
Gif from the presentation of Demis Hassabis in the movie “AlphaGo” (2017)
This allowed him to clear several dozen virtual bricks from the top of the screen, without having to catch up with the ball.
“The researchers who worked on this project are great AI developers, but they’re not that strong at breaking bricks. And they didn’t know about this strategy,” he concluded.“So they learned something from their own system.”
According to him, this discovery is “very informative about the general potential of artificial intelligence”, capable of learning itself through “neural networks” and surpassing human knowledge.
The documentary AlphaGo was released in April 2017. Netflix explained to Numerama that it could not come up with a release date in France.
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