New AI assistant can browse, search, and use web apps like a human

Enlarge / Still from a demo video displaying ACT-1 performing a search on in a browser when requested to “find me a house.”


Yesterday, California-based AI agency Adept introduced Action Transformer (ACT-1), an AI mannequin that can carry out actions in software program like a human assistant when given high-level written or verbal instructions. It can reportedly function web apps and carry out clever searches on web sites whereas clicking, scrolling, and typing in the suitable fields as if it have been a individual utilizing the pc.

In a demo video tweeted by Adept, the corporate reveals somebody typing, “Find me a house in Houston that works for a family of 4. My budget is 600K” into a textual content entry field. Upon submitting the duty, ACT-1 robotically browses in a web browser, clicking the correct areas of the web site, typing a search entry, and altering the search parameters till a matching home seems on the display screen.

1/7 We constructed a new mannequin! It’s referred to as Action Transformer (ACT-1) and we taught it to use a bunch of software program instruments. In this primary video, the person merely varieties a high-level request and ACT-1 does the remainder. Read on to see extra examples ⬇️

— Adept (@AdeptAILabs) September 14, 2022

Another demonstration video on Adept’s web site reveals ACT-1 working Salesforce with prompts akin to “add Max Nye at Adept as a new lead” and “log a call with James Veel saying that he’s thinking about buying 100 widgets.” ACT-1 then clicks the suitable buttons, scrolls, and fills out the correct types to complete these duties. Other demo movies present ACT-1 navigating Google Sheets, Craigslist, and Wikipedia via a browser.

An Adept promotional video displaying ACT-1 working Google Sheets, a web-based spreadsheet app.

How is that this attainable? Adept describes ACT-1 as a “large-scale transformer.” In AI, a transformer mannequin is a kind of neural community that learns to do one thing by coaching on instance information, and it builds data of the context and relationships between gadgets within the information set. Transformers have been behind many current AI improvements, together with language fashions like GPT-3 that can write at a almost human degree.


In the case of ACT-1, the coaching information apparently got here from people working the software program first, and the AI mannequin discovered from that. Someone who recognized themselves as a developer for ACT-1 on Hacker News wrote, “We used a combination of human demonstrations and feedback data! You need custom software both to record the demonstrations and to represent the state of the tool in a model-consumable way.

After coaching, the ACT-1 mannequin interacts with a web browser via a Chrome extension that can “observe what’s happening in the browser and take certain actions, like clicking, typing, and scrolling,” in response to Adept. The firm describes ACT -1’s commentary skill as with the ability to generalize throughout web sites, so guidelines discovered on one website can apply to others.

While scripts to automate looking exist already (and are sometimes used to energy bots with unwell intentions), the highly effective, generalized nature of ACT-1 implied within the demos appears to take machine automation to a new degree. Already, folks on Twitter are each severely and half-jokingly elevating alarms over the potential for misuse that this know-how may deliver. Should we permit an clever system to have this a lot management over our laptop interfaces?

While these considerations are purely hypothetical for now—particularly since ACT-1 doesn’t function autonomously—they’re one thing to bear in mind as we rush headlong towards generalized human-level AI that can interface with the skin world via the Internet. Adept even references this purpose on its web site, writing, “We believe the clearest framing of general intelligence is a system that can do anything a human can do in front of a computer.”


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