It would be useful for machines to use computers as humans do so that they can aid us in everyday tasks. This is a setting in which there is also the potential to leverage large-scale expert demonstrations and human judgements of interactive behaviour, which are two ingredients that have driven much recent success in AI. Here we investigate the setting of computer control using keyboard and mouse, with goals specified via natural language. Instead of focusing on hand-designed curricula and specialized action spaces, we focus on developing a scalable method centered on reinforcement learning combined with behavioural priors informed by actual human-computer interactions. We achieve state-of-the-art and human-level mean performance across all tasks within the MiniWob++ benchmark, a challenging suite of computer control problems, and find strong evidence of cross-task transfer. These results demonstrate the usefulness of a unified human-agent interface when training machines to use computers. Altogether our results suggest a formula for achieving competency beyond MiniWob++ and towards controlling computers, in general, as a human would.
A common vision from science fiction is that robots will one day inhabit our physical spaces, sense the world as we do, assist our physical labours, and communicate with us through natural language. Here we study how to design artificial agents that can interact naturally with humans using the simplification of a virtual environment. We show that imitation learning of human-human interactions in a simulated world, in conjunction with self-supervised learning, is sufficient to produce a multimodal interactive agent, which we call MIA, that successfully interacts with non-adversarial humans 75% of the time. We further identify architectural and algorithmic techniques that improve performance, such as hierarchical action selection. Altogether, our results demonstrate that imitation of multi-modal, real-time human behaviour may provide a straightforward and surprisingly effective means of imbuing agents with a rich behavioural prior from which agents might then be fine-tuned for specific purposes, thus laying a foundation for training capable agents for interactive robots or digital assistants. A video of MIA's behaviour may be found at https://youtu.be/ZFgRhviF7mY