Learning Predictive Models from Observation and Interaction

Karl Schmeckpeper, Annie Xie, Oleh Rybkin, Stephen Tian, Kostas Daniilidis, Sergey Levine, Chelsea Finn ;


Learning predictive models from interaction with the world allows an agent, such as a robot, to learn about how the world works, and then use this learned model to plan coordinated sequences of actions to bring about desired outcomes. However, learning a model that captures the dynamics of complex skills represents a major challenge: if the agent needs a good model to perform these skills, it might never be able to collect the experience on its own that is required to learn these delicate and complex behaviors. Instead, we can imagine augmenting the training set with observational data of other agents, such as humans. Such data is likely more plentiful, but cannot always be combined with data from the original agent. For example, videos of humans might show a robot how to use a tool, but (i) are not annotated with suitable robot actions, and (ii) contain a systematic distributional shift due to the embodiment differences between humans and robots. We address the first challenge by formulating the corresponding graphical model and treating the action as an observed variable for the interaction data and an unobserved variable for the observation data, and the second challenge by using a domain-dependent prior. In addition to interaction data, our method is able to leverage videos of passive observations in a driving dataset and a dataset of robotic manipulation videos to improve video prediction performance. We also demonstrate that, in a real-world tabletop robotic manipulation setting, we are able to significantly improve control performance by learning a model from both robot data and observations of humans."

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