AI Podcast: Follow the Rainbow Road – Training AI to Play Mario Kart

by Allison Toh

Deep neural networks, banana peels, Bowsers. They all came together for Kevin Hughes, a developer at Shopify, in one of his side projects: training an AI to play Mario Kart 64.

Mario Kart, a popular series of go-kart video games from Nintendo based on Mario franchise characters, lets players compete in go-kart racing competitions. For his project, titled TensorKart, Hughes used Mario Kart 64, the second edition in the Mario Kart franchise.

He settled on the popular go-kart racing video game because it’s “a very iconic game that is very popular. Everyone knows Mario Kart and grew up with it.” He hoped that if people saw they could train AI on something as familiar as Mario Kart, they would grow more curious about AI and its abilities.

And it worked.

Since Hughes uploaded his project online, collaborators have swooped in and built upon TensorKart.

“The response has been pretty phenomenal,” Hughes said in a conversation with tech journalist Michael Copeland in the latest episode of our AI Podcast.

To hear more about TensorKart, tune into the latest edition of NVIDIA’s AI Podcast.

AI Podcast: AI Helps Grow the Lettuce in Our Salads

And if you missed our podcast last week, it’s worth a listen: We spoke with Lee Redden, co-founder and CTO of Blue River Technology, about how he and his cofounder used AI to develop a product that helps farmers fertilize and thin their crops.