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DeepMind AI Taught Digital People to Play Football from Scratch

Digital soccer players.

Artificial intelligence can train digital players in the rules and mechanics of soccer.

Credit: Yeow Hui Ho/Alamy

An artificial intelligence (AI)-trained computer learned to play football from scratch, using digital players.

Researchers at Alphabet's U.K.-based AI subsidiary DeepMind used motion-capture data from real players to teach the digital footballers to get up and run.

They became more skilled in specific training tasks, like dribbling a ball to follow a target, or kicking a ball to a target, via reinforcement learning.

The digital players engaged in a series of 45-second matches, and after 24 hours became quite adept; after a further training period of up to 10 days, they were able to consider future actions and work as a team.

Sebastian Risi at Denmark's IT University Copenhagen said although the system lacks full automation, it is "an exciting open challenge how we can learn complex tasks such as football end-to-end through more open-ended approaches that would discover the necessary stepping stones by themselves."

From New Scientist
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