Artificial Intelligence Could Stop Streaming Videos From Buffering

Nobody likes buffering, so when there’s news that MIT built an AI that can end the horribleness of streaming video buffering, we should all be jumping for joy.
The internet is full of streaming services plagued with buffering and pixelation, ruining the experience that we want when we want to watch a video. Dvelopers at MIT CSAIL went to work at find a solution to this problem. After unveiling an a AI that can essentially predict how a network connection will change and make decisions that will cause the best outcomes when streaming a video, they could have just found it.
Many videos are delivered not as one big chuck, but as smaller pieces. Sites like YouTube use AVP algorithms that determine what resolution a video will play at, working to determine how fast a network can send data and also to maintain a good buffer for the video. If the rate-based algorithms fail, the video becomes pixilated. If you try to skip it begins to buffer.
The way that MIT hopes that AI will fix this problem is by programming the machine with the ability to figure out when to switch between rate and buffer-based adaptive bitrates. Over time, it will be able to adjust its behavior to consistently guarantee the highest optimal rewards, and since the rewards can be adjusted, the AI can be tuned to whatever behavior we want.
"Our system is flexible for whatever you want to optimize it for," MIT professor Mohammad Alizadeh said in a statement. "You could even imagine a user personalizing their own streaming experience based on whether they want to prioritize rebuffering versus resolution."
After being tested on a month's worth of download video content, the AI was able to keep with same video resolution will lowering buffering by about 10 to 30 percent.
MIT hopes to one day be able to see places like YouTube and Netflix use their technology, but they want to apply the AI to VR first.
"The bitrates you need for 4K-quality VR can easily top hundreds of megabits per second, which today's networks simply can't support," Alizadeh said. "We're excited to see what systems like Pensieve can do for things like VR. This is really just the first step in seeing what we can do."


Mike Wilhelm
Mike Wilhelm
Mike is the Editor-in-Chief of Videomaker and Creator Handbook

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