A New Kind of Open-Ended Environment for a New Kind of Artificial Intelligence

If we are to develop artificial intelligence (AI) capable of learning as humans do, it needs to be tested in complex environments just like humans are.
By Cross Labs
April 9, 2021
Cross Labs' Senior Researcher, Dr. Lisa Soros.
Cross Labs' Senior Researcher, Dr. Lisa Soros.

If we are to develop artificial intelligence (AI) capable of learning as humans do, it needs to be tested in complex environments just like humans are. A new research project, being undertaken by Cross Labs in Japan and funded by research and development company GoodAI, aims to develop a radically new kind of testbed for AI that better replicates the learning conditions of humans.

The research project will be led by Postdoctoral Fellow Lisa Soros and will seek to build AI systems that are capable of creating and completing new goals without explicit reward signals and without any prior domain knowledge. These systems will operate in an open-ended artificial environment that will be created as a part of the grant. In essence, this should allow AI to think and create targets for itself, something that so far is very limited in modern AI.

The ideas in Dr. Soros’ research, particularly around understanding the general principles underlying open-endedness, which may lead to the creation of open-ended AI have significant parallels with GoodAI's Badger Architecture research goals.

The project will be carried out in two phases. The first involves building a 2D “toy” environment, dubbed artificial principles, that captures a minimalist representation of the proposed new environment. This will allow the researchers to experiment with various design configurations. During the second phase, the environment will be extended into a more embodied game-like physical world. In this world, the research team will be able to ground the 2D domain in physics potentially leading to endless possibilities of creation and discovery for the AI agents.

Dr. Soros said: “Understanding how to create open-ended algorithms that innovate forever is a major goal for the artificial life and artificial intelligence communities, and I am excited for the opportunity to create a domain focused specifically on open-endedness. The collaboration with GoodAI is enabling a truly unique line of research.

The grant is part of the ongoing GoodAI Grants initiative, which has awarded over $600,000 so far. The initiative is supporting research groups across the world that are solving problems related to GoodAI’s Badger architecture. The vision is that each research grant, along with the work of the GoodAI research team, will contribute in some way to basic AI research, and all together fill in some of the gaps in the roadmap to advanced, increasingly human-like AI.

Mare Rosa, CEO and CTO of GoodAI said: “We have a strong relationship with Cross Labs and many of their researchers joined our Meta-Learning & Multi-Agent Learning Workshop in August last year. The ideas laid out by Lisa and her team show great promise for progressing our Badger architecture towards open-endedness and we believe this collaboration could have major impacts on the shape of AI in the future.”

About GoodAI

GoodAI is a research and development organization based in Prague with the goal to develop general artificial intelligence - as fast as possible - to help humanity and understand the universe. It was founded with a $10M personal investment from CEO/CTO Marek Rosa in January 2014 and now has over 30 research scientists, engineers, and consultants working across its divisions.