Gran Turismo Sophy Development Diary #3: Sophy’s Future

The final video in Sony AI’s series about the development of Gran Turismo Sophy is now available, delving into what lies ahead for the intangible racing driver.

In the last video, we left Sophy in its state of being supremely fast on its own but ultimately second-best to the fastest Gran Turismo players in the world. The AI agent had come up against Ryota Kokubun, Takuma Miyazono, Shotaro Ryu, and Tomoaki Yamanaka, and lost.

However it wasn’t just that the AI had lost, but the manner in which it lost that caused concern. The Sony AI team had to dig into some of the unexpected behaviors that saw Sophy spinning out all by itself, yielding corners, and failing to catch up despite prodigious speed.

Having identified some of the causes — such as a data glitch as Sophy switched between its solo pace and in-pack scrapping modes, resulting in the spin — the Sony AI team set about training for a second event against the humans in October 2021.

Of course as we already know, Sophy quite handily defeated the humans in the re-match, taking 1-2 finishes in every race.

It also turned out that two of the three issues seen in the previous races at Circuit de la Sarthe cropped up again. This time though, the AI caught up after spinning off — caused by a car-to-car contact rather than a glitch — and when going wheel-to-wheel with Yamanaka in the Porsche Curves, Sophy’s choice was to stay on the power rather than yielding as before.

Having beaten some of the best in the world, Sony AI is now looking at how to implement Sophy into Gran Turismo 7, and it’s something we could see by the end of 2022. A superhuman variant of the AI would be too much for most players, and not much fun as a result, but its pace could be scaled down as a rival — and there’s other applications for an AI.

Interestingly, the final part of the video deals with how Sophy learned “unwritten rules” of sportsmanship, and how this could have wider applications in AI in the future. After all, as pointed out in the clip, humans operate on a lot of unspoken and unwritten conventions, and an AI that can learn racing etiquette is one that can also learn the foibles of human society.

You can view the final, ten-minute video in the series below:

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