We've already seen artificial intelligence systems trounce human beings at the ancient board game Go, and now computers are winning at multiplayer video games too – the OpenAI engine backed by Elon Musk has been beating the best Dota 2 players in the world championships in the US.
The AI took on three of the best Dota 2 players on the planet and beat them all, having learned the game from scratch through playing itself over and over again and working out the best way forward in any given situation.
According to its makers, the AI bots aren't any better than an average human Dota 2 player in terms of actions-per-minute, but it's the smart choices that the software makes that give it the edge – it can predict where other players will move and improvise new approaches when it gets into tight situations.
“This is a step towards building AI systems which accomplish well-defined goals in messy, complicated situations involving real humans,” say the OpenAI engineers. Ultimately the goal is not to win video games but to excel in making choices in the real world.
The system built on OpenAI can learn to beat regular Dota 2 bots in the space of just an hour and the best humans after just two weeks, which shows the strength of the algorithms it's using to work out the intricacies of the game and how to respond to any moves its opponent makes.
However, in subsequent tests against other attendees at The International 2017, many players found ways to deliberately confuse the bot and draw its attention away from the main objectives of the game, so maybe us humans still have our uses after all.
- This AI can hunt down old solutions to new problems