A startup called CogitAI has developed a platform that lets companies use reinforcement learning, the technique that gave AlphaGo mastery of the board game Go.

Gaining experience: AlphaGo, an AI program developed by DeepMind, taught itself to play Go by practicing. It’s practically impossible for a programmer to manually code in the best strategies for winning. Instead, reinforcement learning let the program figure out how to defeat the world’s best human players on its own. 

Drug delivery: Reinforcement learning is still an experimental technology, but it is gaining a foothold in industry. Amazon recently launched a reinforcement-learning platform, but it is aimed more at researchers and academics. CogitAI’s first commercial customers include those working in robotics for drug manufacturing. Its platform lets the robot figure out the optimal way to process drug orders.

Brain trust: CogitAI was founded by several smart AI experts, including Peter Stone, a professor at the University of Texas. Rich Sutton, one of the fathers of reinforcement learning, is an advisor.

Learn for life: Stone says CogitAI’s platform is also the first to incorporate the ability to apply what it has learned in one situation to a new one, a first step toward “lifelong learning” for AI programs. “The platform has all of the cutting-edge RL algorithms and then some of our steps toward continual learning,” he says.

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