Elon Musk, billionaire, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Elon Musk, billionaire, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc.

The second neural network known as the imitation network then takes over. Its job is to mimic the task that the human was doing in VR.

“Imitation allows humans to learn new behaviors rapidly. We would like our robots to be able to learn this way too” Josh Tobin, a member of the technical staff at OpenAI, said in a video posted on the organization’s website.

“With a single demonstration of the task, we can replicate it in a number of different initial conditions. Teaching the robot how to build a different block arrangement requires only a single additional demonstration. “

OpenAI is a non-profit that has got around $1 billion in funding and is backed by Tesla boss Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, among others. The group states that its mission is to “build safe AI, and ensure AI’s benefits are as widely and evenly distributed as possible.” One of its goals is to build a household robot.

The latest development, which is seen as a big step for general purpose robots, could lay the groundwork for this. Even though the robot was stacking blocks, OpenAI explained that this could apply to other tasks.

“Nothing in our technique is specific to blocks. This system is an early prototype that will form the backbone of the general purpose robotic systems we are developing here at OpenAI,” Tobin said.

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