Self-navigating AI learns to take shortcuts: Study
A computer programme modelled on the human brain learnt to navigate a virtual maze and take shortcuts, outperforming a flesh-and-blood expert, its developers said Wednesday.
While artificial intelligence (AI) programmes have recently made great strides in imitating human brain processing — everything from recognising objects to playing complicated board games — spatial navigation has remained a challenge.
It requires the recalculation of one’s position, after each step taken, in relation to the starting point and destination — even when travelling a never-before-taken route.
Navigation is considered a complex behavioural task, and in animals is partly controlled by a sort of onboard GPS driven by “grid cells” in the brain’s hippocampus region. These cells have been observed firing in a regular pattern as mammals explore a new environment. In a new study published in the journal Nature, AI researchers said they had developed a “deep neural network”, or computer “brain”, which they trained to navigate towards a goal in a virtual maze.
When shortcuts were introduced, by opening a previously blocked opening for example, the AI automatically took the shorter route.
– ‘Super-human’ –
Furthermore, the computer “brain” generated navigational grids strikingly similar to those observed in the brains of foraging mammals, said the team. The programme …read more