Audio version of the article
Unlike human students, computers don’t seem to get bored or frustrated when a lesson is too easy or too hard. But just like humans, they do better when a lesson plan is “just right” for their level of skill. Coming up with the right curricula isn’t easy, though, so computer scientists wondered: What if they could make machines design their own?
That’s what researchers have done in several new studies, creating artificial intelligence (AI) that can figure out how best to teach itself. The work could speed learning in self-driving cars and household robots, and it might even help crack previously unsolvable math problems.
In one of the new experiments, an AI program tries to quickly reach a destination by navigating a 2D grid populated with solid blocks. The “agent” improves its abilities through a process called reinforcement learning, a kind of trial and error.