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E-sports has its "Deep Blue" moment

OpenAI, the research organisation co-founded by Elon Musk, has made history by creating artificial intelligence based bots that can play and compete as a team in one of the most complicated strategy games in e-sports and beat the current reigning champions. 

It may seem like a foregone conclusion that computer programs should be able to beat humans in almost any game that they are trained to play, however such conclusions do not typically take into consideration the complexity of most "mobile online battle area" (or MOBA) games. 

Dota 2, the MOBA which has the accolade of having the biggest prize pools in all of e-sports (over $25 million for the biggest tournament of 2018) is a game where two teams of five battle each other in a complex strategy setting (typically each game lasting approximately 40 minutes) with the objective of destroying the opposing team's base.  The game's complexity is derived mostly from the staggering number of playable character and item combinations that are available in a given game. A new player has to learn strengths and weaknesses of over 100 different characters, together with thousands upon thousands of potential item configurations that the player could acquire during the course of a game. 

Since 1997 when Deep Blue beat Gary Kasparov, then the reigning world chess champion, the methods of training such bots have developed beyond the brute force computational power approach of this precursor AI. The OpenAI bots use reinforced learning, whereby they are incentivised as to what "good" outcomes are and use past experiences to bring about these positive outcomes. To get to this standard of gameplay, the OpenAI bots have reportedly played an equivalent of 45,000 years worth of Dota 2. 

This effectively brings OpenAI's experiment into Dota playing bots to a conclusion; they have achieved the ultimate goal and Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO of OpenAI, states that there are no multiplayer games that the bots could not ultimately master beyond human capability. OpenAI will now take their research into the real world, as fun as it may be to create the ultimate gaming machines. 

OpenAI, the AI research organization, can claim a world first: its artificial intelligence system trained to play the complex strategy game Dota 2 has bested a world champion e-sports team.


uk, e-sports, openai, dota2, moba, og

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