OpenAI sets new benchmark for robot dexterity

Nothing in this world — animal or robot — quite comes close to the flexibility and dexterity of the human hand. For engineers at the Elon Musk-founded nonprofit OpenAI, this presented both a challenge and an opportunity. How could their researchers use artificial intelligence to teach a robot to manipulate objects as artfully as a human?

Usually, when teaching an AI to control a physical robot, scientists tend to come up against the same problems. Training is often done using reinforcement learning; a method where the AI learns through a process of trial and error. But this requires a lot of time, usually amounting to years of experience. That’s fine if you want an AI to beat, say, a video game — you just let it play the game at an…

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