OpenAI has disbanded its robotics team after years of research into machines that can learn to perform tasks like solving a Rubik’s Cube. Company cofounder Wojciech Zaremba quietly revealed on a podcast hosted by startup Weights & Biases that OpenAI has shifted its focus to other domains, where data is more readily available. From a report: “So it turns out that we can make a gigantic progress whenever we have access to data. And I kept all of our machinery unsupervised, [using] reinforcement learning — [it] work[s] extremely well. There [are] actually plenty of domains that are very, very rich with data. And ultimately that was holding us back in terms of robotics,” Zaremba said. “The decision [to disband the robotics team] was quite hard for me. But I got the realization some time ago that actually, that’s for the best from the perspective of the company.”
In a statement, an OpenAI spokesperson told VentureBeat: “After advancing the state of the art in reinforcement learning through our Rubik’s Cube project and other initiatives, last October we decided not to pursue further robotics research and instead refocus the team on other projects. Because of the rapid progress in AI and its capabilities, we’ve found that other approaches, such as reinforcement learning with human feedback, lead to faster progress in our reinforcement learning research.”
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