August 18, 2014
Researchers Exploring The Use Of Quantum Physics To Enhance AI Technology
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
The decision-making capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) technology could be enhanced using quantum physics, researchers from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the University of Innsbruck and the Complutense University in Madrid claim in a recently-published paper in the journal Physical Review X.
In the study, physical theorist Hans Briegel from the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Innsbruck, and colleagues from the Complutense University Institute for Theoretical Physics have demonstrated that the principles of quantum theory could help AI agents speed up decision-making processes based on previous experiences.
Furthermore, their research also provides robots and autonomous machines with a quadratic speed-up for active learning in situations where the AI agent actively explores its environment. This is beneficial, as future agents are expected to be increasingly flexible and able to work intelligently by learning from prior experience, and able to react automatically to their surroundings as they begin to assume an increasing variety of tasks in our world.
“Our agent model comes to a rational conclusion faster because, by using quantum physics, it is, in a manner of speaking, able to recall previous experiences simultaneously, searching for the best action,” Briegel, who initially came up with the concept of an AI model capable of perceiving objects from the environment two years ago, explained in a recent statement.
Once it detected environmental percepts, Briegel’s AI model would they process them in a specific type of memory that would allow it to conduct internal simulations of possible future actions. This episodic and compositional memory (ECM) consists of a network of clips, each representing fragments of experiences. When the AI faces new events, it begins performing randomized searches of prior related events using a process known as quantum walks.
“The path through the memory is determined by transition probabilities modified according to previous experience,” the University of Innsbruck said. “In this way the AI agent learns from success and failure and is able to create new clips that are then integrated as if they were previously encountered percept-action events. This provides the agent with a platform for projecting itself into simulated situations.”
Now, the researchers have combined this concept with the principles of quantum information processing. As junior project scientist Vedran Dunjko explained, “A random walk is substituted by a quantum stochastic process, which allows for a more efficient exploration of the memorized experiences. This is why the quantum agent is considerably faster or to be more precise, quadratically faster in terms of taking action than a conventional agent.”
These new technological enhancements could benefit several different types of applications, including self-driving automobiles, the researchers explained. Speeding up the internal decision-making capabilities of the AI agent will be especially important for active learning, allowing robots operating in unknown environments to explore at their own pace and to be better prepared to act in quickly-changing situations.
With these added capabilities, the machines will have more time to attempt new courses of action and develop successful behavior patterns. Briegel and his colleagues explain that while the application of quantum physics to artificial intelligence is still in its earliest stages, “studying and using autonomous and active learning systems in the context of quantum experiments could steer research into entirely new and exciting directions.”
Earlier this month, redOrbit reported that SpaceX and Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk had serious concerns over the safety of artificial intelligence.
Additionally, in May of this year, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking expressed similar concerns after viewing the Johnny Depp film Transcendence. As we reported at the time, Hawking said the movie should not be dismissed as science fiction, and that ignoring the story’s deeper lessons would be “a mistake, and potentially our worst mistake in history.”