AI has been beating humans at competitions throughout the years. Kasparov by Deep Blue. Pro Jeopardy! players Rutter and Jennings by Watson. Lee Sedol by AlphaGo. At each step, it seemed nothing but a natural progression flow, as our understanding of deep learning systems and algorithms gets better and better.
Just earlier last month, another competitive milestone for AI has been achieved. This time, Elon Musk’s very own OpenAI defeats professional players of the massively popular eSport Dota 2.
Just Like a Human, but Somehow Still Different
The International 2017 that was held this August was the event where OpenAI had successfully demonstrated its competitive gaming potential. It was pitted against pro Dota 2 player Danil “Dendi” Ishutin, with the final verdict for the 1v1 match ultimately awarding OpenAI the victory.
To give a bit of background, OpenAI is both the product and the name of the research company that Elon Musk and Sam Altman founded “in order to benefit mankind as a whole”. Whereas Google’s DeepMind and IBM’s Watson have specific development objectives and agendas in mind, OpenAI is well… an open AI. It has the end-goal of becoming available to anyone and everyone, acting as a balance to the perceived risks of advanced AI in the near future.
Dendi described OpenAI’s playstyle as if “[it] felt like a human, but a little like something else”. This suggests that the AI did manage to learn specific moves in the game that are considered as meta by its competitive playerbase. All on its own. The development team taught OpenAI how to play the game by pitting it against itself countless times. As explained by its developers, it started from seemingly random commands, to sophisticated moves that demanded intricate knowledge of the game.
The experience that OpenAI had accumulated was described as “several lifetimes” worth, demonstrating its impressive data analysis, processing capabilities, and in this case, the chops to be an eSport champ.
The Not-So-Perfect Gaming Algorithm
Granted, despite what might seem to be another astonishing record achievement for modern AI, OpenAI’s recent victory was not as perfect as it may seem. Just mere weeks later, the very same strategies that it used to defeat Dendi was already straight up being bypassed and circumvented. More than 50 other Dota 2 players have eventually managed to defeat OpenAI both in a straight match, and by using several AI exploits.
In addition, a 1v1 match also does not technically reflect the team management aspect of Dota quite well. So in a way, programming it to compete isn’t actually as complex as it initially seemed to be.
So what does this mean for OpenAI? All points considered, it might simply mean that it needs an upgrade. After all, the company and the AI was founded and developed just a little over two years ago. So there is definitely still a whole lot more room for improvement.
Besides, there’s still the actual pro 5v5 standard match, something that we should all probably look forward to as OpenAI participates in someday.