by Esan Swan
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been snapping at the heels of humanity for some time, and now it’s navigating its own way.
The AI arm of London-based internet company DeepMind has announced that its AI bot can now navigate like a human being using digital grid cells.
Grid cells were discovered in 2005 by scientists May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser, for which they won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
In humans and other mammals, grid cells are neurons in the brain that help with self-motion and are used to measure out space. In other words, when you are lost in unfamiliar places you use these cells to find your way.
Researchers at DeepMind have been using an AI bot to simulate this scenario virtually. The bots were dropped in a random location and using a complex neural network they could be trained to navigate through a virtual maze.
Through deep reinforcement learning, the neural network developed grid cells and not only reached their targeted goals but also learned how to take shortcuts and even how to do it better than humans.
“This agent performed at a super-human level, exceeding the ability of a professional game player, and exhibited the type of flexible navigation normally associated with animals, taking novel routes and shortcuts when they became available,” the researchers wrote in the science magazine, Nature.
As this type of AI technology continues to improve, scientists suggest it could unlock the secrets to the human brain and even be used to avoid ethical issues when experimenting on animals.
In a recorded video to the press, University College London neuroscientist Dr Caswell Barry and one of the main researchers working with DeepMind said: “This research is important for several reasons. We’ve shown that we can use an artificial network to conduct a neuroscience experiment.”
“We’ve also shown that incorporating what we know about how brains solve problems into an artificial network can provide that network with the ability it wouldn’t otherwise have.”
Featured Image from Pixabay