Is it a car? Is it a rocket? No, it's Elon Musk's robot butler!

Billionaire's OpenAI club wants to play a game

A scrappy bunch of Silicon valley A-listers have announced plans to build an artificial intelligence (AI) system that will clean your house, answer your questions, and beat you at Call of Duty.

In a blog post OpenAI, a research company formed as a non-profit by Elon Musk, vengeful billionaire Peter Thiel, and the Y Combinator team, announced its plans to build the software – but not the hardware – to make AI more useful to humans.

"OpenAI's mission is to build safe AI, and ensure AI's benefits are as widely and evenly distributed as possible," the group said. "We're trying to build AI as part of a larger community, and we want to share our plans and capabilities along the way."

After establishing metrics for success, the group wants to write the software that runs an off-the-shelf robot that can perform basic household tasks and makes the system reliable enough for everyday use.

After that, the team wants to add natural language processing skills, so that the software can not only recognize questions, but probe the questioner to define additional details. It should be able to hold up its end up in a conversation, read documents, and follow complex commands.

OpenAI's next goal is to take these skills and apply them to game play – primarily to allow the AI to devise strategy and learn through reinforcement. The team cited the success of Google's DeepMind code as an inspiration.

Python coders can start using the OpenAI Gym toolkit to test out agents on the system, and other languages are promised soon. The TensorFlow and Theano libraries are also supported, and details on submission are now up on GitHub. ®

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