Microsoft AI to Win Greenhouse Competition

Five AI systems from different teams took part in cucumber growth competition
17 December 2018   470

From August to December, five teams from technology companies and universities from different countries participated in the competition for growing cucumbers in autonomous greenhouses. Irrigation, fertilizing, temperature control and other factors were controlled by artificial intelligence. The best result was shown by the Sonoma team from Microsoft Research. In addition, it reached a yield of 50 kilograms of cucumbers per square meter.

The results of the participants were evaluated by three parameters:

  1. net profit (market value of the harvested crop minus water, energy, and labor) was 50% of the final estimate;
  2. the use of artificial intelligence (reliability of the algorithm, the effectiveness of its strategy) - 30%;
  3. system stability (water, carbon dioxide and energy per kilogram of cucumbers) - 20%.

The Microsoft Research team achieved the highest yield and net profit. The second place was taken by the team from Tencent - their algorithm showed the best strategy for the use of resources. Third place went to The Croperators team from Delphy and AgroEnergy.

The jury noted that the control group of agronomists, which grew cucumbers on their own, used less electricity than any of the teams with AI. At the same time, it lost only to the team from Microsoft in terms of net profit.

According to the founders, the purpose of the competition was not to start building autonomous greenhouses around the world. The organizers wanted to know at what stage of development artificial intelligence is and what is its advantage over people in the agrarian sphere.

OpenAI to Create Fake News Creating Algorithm

On the basis of one or two phrases that set the theme, it is able to “write” a fairly plausible story
18 February 2019   146

The GPT-2 algorithm, created by OpenAI for working with language and texts, turned out to be a master in creating fake news. On the basis of one or two phrases that set the theme, it is able to “compose” a fairly plausible story. For example:

  • an article about scientists who have found a herd of unicorns in the Andes;
  • news about pop star Miley Cyrus caught on shoplifting;
  • artistic text about Legolas and Gimli attacking the orcs;
  • an essay on how waste recycling harms the economy, nature, and human health.

The developers did not publish the source code of the model entirely, fearing abuse by unscrupulous users. For fellow researchers, they posted on GitHub a simplified version of the algorithm and gave a link to the preprint of the scientific article. The overall results are published on the OpenAI blog.

GPT-2 is a general purpose algorithm. The developers taught it to answer questions, “understand” the logic of a text, a sentence, finish building phrases. In this case, the algorithm worked worse than the model of a specific purpose. Researchers suggest that the indicators can be improved by expanding the training datasets and choosing computers more efficiently.