Sony’s race car AI just destroyed human competitors — in a good (and fast) way
But Sony soon learned that speed alone wasn’t enough to make the GT Sophy a winner. The program outperformed all human drivers on an empty stretch of road, setting sublime lap times on three different virtual courses. However, when Sony tested the GT Sophy in a race with many human racers where wits as much as speed, the GT Sophy lost. The show was sometimes too aggressive, offering penalties for reckless driving, and at other times too timid, giving way when it wasn’t necessary.
Sony regrouped, retrained its AI and set up a rematch in October. This time GT Sophy won with ease. What made the difference? It’s true that Sony is back with a bigger neural network, giving its show more ability to pull things together. But in the end, the difference gave the GT Sophy what Peter Wurman, head of Sony AI America, calls “ethical etiquette”: the ability to strike a balance between aggression and timidity, picking out how to behave. best suited to the current situation.
This is also what makes the GT Sophy relevant beyond the Gran Turismo. Etiquette between drivers on a track is a specific example of the kind of dynamic, context-aware behavior that robots will have when they interact with humans, Wurman said.
Awareness of when to take risks and when to play it safe will be very helpful for AI to better interact with people, whether it’s on the production floor, in a home robot, or in a car. driver.
“I don’t think we’ve learned the general principles of how to deal with human norms that you have to respect,” says Wurman. “But it’s a start and will hopefully give us some insight into the issue in general.”
GT Sophy is just the latest in a line of AI systems that have beaten the world’s best players at a variety of games ranging from chess and Go to video games like Starcraft and DOTA. But Gran Turismo presented a new challenge for Sony. Unlike other games, especially turn-based ones, Gran Turismo calls on its best players to control a car to the limit physically possible, in real time and close to the limit. other players, all trying to do the same thing.