AI News, Activity simulator could eventually teach robots tasks like making coffee or setting the table

Activity simulator could eventually teach robots tasks like making coffee or setting the table

Recently, computer scientists have been working on teaching machines to do a wider range of tasks around the house.

In a new paper spearheaded by MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the University of Toronto, researchers demonstrate 'VirtualHome,' a system that can simulate detailed household tasks and then have artificial 'agents' execute them, opening up the possibility of one day teaching robots to do such tasks.

The team trained the system using nearly 3,000 programs of various activities, which are further broken down into subtasks for the computer to understand.

The team's AI agent can execute 1,000 of these interactions in the Sims-style world, with eight different scenes including a living room, kitchen, dining room, bedroom, and home office.

'Describing actions as computer programs has the advantage of providing clear and unambiguous descriptions of all the steps needed to complete a task,' says PhD student Xavier Puig, who was lead author on the paper.

The team's model successfully demonstrated that, their agents could learn to reconstruct a program, and therefore perform a task, given either a description: 'pour milk into glass,' or a video demonstration of the activity.

In the future, the team hopes to train the robots using actual videos instead of Sims-style simulation videos, which would enable a robot to learn simply by watching a YouTube video.

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