WE KNEW IT WAS COMING but an artificial intelligence (AI) system has trounced human players of lane-pushing game Dota 2.
The OpenAI Five, which has previously given amateur Dota 2 players the runaround, formed a team of five bots and was pitted against semi-professional players and still managed to wipe the floor with them.
It only lost a game series when it had its 'heroes' selected by audience members watching the action unfold, and those selected characters severely handicapped the OpenAI Five.
It's worth noting that restrictions were put on the game and the reaction times of the OpenAI Five bots were increased from 80 milliseconds to 200 milliseconds to level the playing field a little more with human-level reaction times.
In some ways the AI was expected to win given the five neural networks it uses clocked the equivalent of 180 years work of Dota 2 gaming every day - we know there are hardcore players out their clocking thousands upon thousands of hours of the game, but that pales in comparison to the amount of practice an AI can simulate.
And the OpenAI has the advantage of learning through rigorous reinforcement training, a machine learning technique that involves teaching AI agents through trial and error and then 'rewarding' them when they carry out a good action in the game.
The next step for OpenAI will be to pit its AI system against professional Dota 2 players at The International, the world's largest Dota tournament taking place 20 to 25 August in Vancouver.
That could be quite an ask as some professional players have an instinct for Dota 2 that is arguably difficult to teach - AI systems are excellent at learning straightforward things or specific tasks but asking them to think generally and instinctively is another level.
While OpenAI's work might seem very Dota 2 centric, it's also messing around with AI in other areas, notably trying to make a robotic hand know how to have human dexterity. µ
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