New gym opens to train robots

[Technology ★★]


(P1) Elon Musk has opened a kind of gym for robots, called OpenAI Gym. Mr. Musk is the boss of the companies Tesla Motors and SpaceX. He also founded the online payments website PayPal. OpenAI Gym is a free platform for code writers to test their work on artificial intelligence. They can also share their algorithms. These are rules in a computer program that can solve problems and deal with lots of information.

(P2) Mr. Musk wrote about why OpenAI Gym is free. He said: “Our goal is to advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole.” It follows the idea of rewards for learning – like giving a dog a treat when it learns something new. If an algorithm does well in the gym, it gets a reward. If it fails, it doesn’t. Musk wants to develop algorithms that can multi-task; to do many things at the same time, rather than just one thing.

WORDS: 160


VOCABULARY: platform, code, artificial, humanity, rewards, treat


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you think robots will replace human beings in the future (e.g. work)?
  3. Tesla Motors manufactures electric cars. Are there people in your country who own electric cars?
  4. Do you think more people should drive electric cars? Why or why not?
  5. Why do people want to learn computer programming and become code writers?

EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES: What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • PayPal (P1)
  • As a whole (P2)
  • Rewards for learning (P2)

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Image source: by Oliver Burston – Getty Images

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