What Happens When You Give an AI a Working Memory?

A new kind of computer, devised by researchers at Google DeepMind in the U.K., could broaden the abilities of today’s best AI systems by giving them an important new feature—a kind of working memory. The researchers show that the computer, which consists of a large neural network connected to a unique form of memory, can perform relatively complex tasks by figuring out for itself what information to hold in its memory. The tasks include figuring out the best way to get from one station to another on London’s spaghetti-like Underground transit network, after exploring diagrams of other types of networks and learning about the most salient features. The Google DeepMind researchers call their system a differentiable neural computer. It is differentiable in the sense that its behavior—including what to store…


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