Google’s pretty good when it comes to designing artificial intelligence. Its most famous neural network, DeepMind, is both able to “dream” and understand the benefits of betrayal. It’s also better than any living human at the infinitely complex game, Go. As impressive as this is, Google is determined to show the world it’s not just a one-trick pony. At Google’s I/O 2017 conference last week, its CEO Sundar Pichai made some rather striking comments on AutoML, another neural network process that generates layer upon layer of complex code and algorithms to “learn” about its environment.
Normally, each of these layers – segments of an AI’s whole, essentially – have to be crafted by people, and it takes time. Google had the bright idea of getting the pre-existing AI to create its own layers of code, and as it turns out, it’s doing it a lot faster and more effectively than its human technicians ever could.
Google’s AI has become its own creator.
An accompanying blog post by the researchers working on the project compare the new AI to a child, with respect to the original AI’s parents. “A controller neural net can propose a ‘child’ model architecture, which can then be trained and evaluated for quality on a particular task,” they write. Whatever the task, it is monitored by the controlling AI throughout, and the feedback is used by the AI to improve the “child”. “We repeat this process thousands of times – generating new architectures, testing them, and giving that feedback to the controller to learn from.”
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