An AI was trained to play Minecraft with 70,000 hours of YouTube videos
OpenAI, the artificial intelligence research organization founded by Elon Musk, has trained an AI to play Minecraft almost as well as humans. It only took about 70,000 hours of binging YouTube videos.
A blog post detailing the exploit reveals that the researchers used a technique called “Video PreTraining (VPT)” to train a neural network on how to play Minecraft. This involved gathering 2,000 hours of data samples from real humans playing Minecraft to include not only the raw video, but also the exact key presses and mouse movements.
From this, the researchers trained an Inverse Dynamics Model (IDM) to predict future action taken at each stage of the videos. Finally, the “trained” IDM watched 70,000 hours of YouTube Minecraft videos. Then the model was able to copy behaviors from the videos, including chopping down trees to collect logs and turning the logs into a real crafting table.
That’s not all the AI model was capable of. It could also perform other complex activities such as swimming, hunting, and eating. The AI could even do “pillar jumping”, which involves keeping you in the air by repeatedly jumping and placing a block under yourself.
Minecraft Legends – 2022 Xbox and Bethesda Games Overview
The researchers were able to create a “base model” based on the data fed to the AI and from there, refine behaviors or learn new ones. It was noted that the AI was able to perform early game skills such as building wood and stone tools, looting chests, and even building shelters.
The more hours of data fed into the base model, the better the AI performs. The researchers even used “reinforcement learning” to “reward” the AI for taking on particularly difficult challenges. The reward system was used so effectively that the model managed to craft a diamond pickaxe, a task that requires a long sequence of tasks.
This is a fascinating application of machine learning and shows how gaming can be used to train computers. Perhaps the AI model used can even be incorporated into the games themselves to provide a more natural challenge akin to playing against human opponents.
The AI could also improve boring boss fights in the new Outriders Worldslayer campaign. In many ways, the new expansion for Outriders is exactly what fans want, but also retains some of the less-received aspects of the original game.
David Matthews is a freelance writer specializing in consumer technology and games. He also strongly believes that sugar does not go into oatmeal. Follow him on Twitter @packetstealer