This course is all about the application of deep learning and neural networks to reinforcement learning. The combination of deep learning with reinforcement learning has led to AlphaGo beating a world champion in the strategy game Go, it has led to self-driving cars, and it has led to machines that can play video games at a superhuman level. Reinforcement learning has been around since the 70s but none of this has been possible until now. The world is changing at a very fast pace. The state of California is changing their regulations so that self-driving car companies can test their cars without a human in the car to supervise. We’ve seen that reinforcement learning is an entirely different kind of machine learning than supervised and unsupervised learning. Supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms are for analyzing and making predictions about data, whereas reinforcement learning is about training an agent to interact with an environment and maximize its reward. Unlike supervised and unsupervised learning algorithms, reinforcement learning agents have an impetus – they want to reach a goal. This is such a fascinating perspective, it can even make supervised/unsupervised machine learning and “data science” seem boring in hindsight. Why train a neural network to learn about the data in a database, when you can train a neural network to interact with the real world? While deep reinforcement learning and AI has a lot of potentials, it also carries with it a huge risk.
AIs don’t think like humans, and so they come up with novel and non-intuitive solutions to reach their goals, often in ways that surprise domain experts – humans who are the best at what they do. OpenAI is a non-profit founded by Elon Musk, Sam Altman (Y Combinator), and others, in order to ensure that AI progresses in a way that is beneficial, rather than harmful. Part of the motivation behind OpenAI is the existential risk that AI poses to humans. They believe that open collaboration is one of the keys to mitigating that risk. One of the great things about OpenAI is that they have a platform called the OpenAI Gym, which we’ll be making heavy use of in this course. It allows anyone, anywhere in the world, to train their reinforcement learning agents in standard environments.
Course Credits: https://youtu.be/fg-fVCxx9FQ