February 22, 2019

AI Is Getting Much Better at Video Games

“An artificial intelligence has defeated two top-ranked human players in the computer game StarCraft II, using some strategies rarely encountered before.

On Thursday, gamers were able to watch the AI agent, called AlphaStar, expertly command armies of “Protoss” units against the professional players. The result: The AI beat the humans 10 out of the 11 matches.

“I was surprised by how strong the agent was,” said Dario “TLO” Wünsch, one of the human players. “AlphaStar takes well-known strategies and turns them on their head.”

The AI comes from DeepMind, the Alphabet-owned company that trained an artificial intelligence to beat the top-ranked player of the Chinese board game Go. To see if the company’s technology could master a more complex game, DeepMind decided to train an AI to play StarCraft, the sci-fi real-time strategy game.

On Thursday, DeepMind publicized the results by showing off game footage taped in December of AlphaStar squaring off against Wunsch and another top-ranked player named Grzegorz “MaNa” Komincz. The outcome did not fare well for the humans; the AI often changed up tactics, making it hard to predict how each match might play out. The machine was also bold, attacking with risky maneuvers humans generally avoid.”

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