Richard Drew / AP

An AI program designed by the Microsoft-acquired Maluuba has achieved the first perfect score of 999,900 on the Atari 2600 version of Ms. Pac-Man, per The Verge.

In 35 years, the best score achieved by a human is 266,330.

The method: The AI breaks up different portions of the game — like collecting pellets or avoiding ghosts — into 163 smaller chunks, assigning each task to an "agent." Each agent then submits its recommendation to a "senior manager," which makes the ultimate decision on how to move in the game. For example, the senior manager will always choose to avoid a ghost over collecting additional pellets.

The applications: Microsoft says this strategy of aggregating small-scale recommendations to achieve a large-scale goal can be applied to natural language processing or helping a company sift through sales leads.

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Updated 7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests, Trump's testing czar saysMask mandates help control rise in hospitalizations Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Surge is sinking consumer confidence Testing is a windfall.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. World: Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month Putin mandates face masks.

Parties trade election influence accusations at Big Tech hearing

Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

A Senate hearing Wednesday with Big Tech CEOs became the backdrop for Democrats and Republicans to swap accusations of inappropriate electioneering.

Why it matters: Once staid tech policy debates are quickly becoming a major focal point of American culture and political wars, as both parties fret about the impact of massive social networks being the new public square.

1 hour ago - World

Germany goes back into lockdown

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel will enact one of Europe's strictest coronavirus lockdowns since spring, closing bars and restaurants nationwide for most of November, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Germany is the latest European country to reimpose some form of lockdown measures amid a surge in cases across the continent.