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Man vs machine: How AI is taking over human bastions of complex strategy games

ET Bureau|
Online games

Online games

Dota 2: Multiplayer online battle arena game with more than 100 unique characters.

AI champion: OpenAI Five

Bots play 180 years’ worth of gameplay against itself every day; defeat OG, the champion team.

Starcraft II: Science-fiction real-time strategy game – one of the most complex ever.

AI champion: AlphaStar (Deepmind)

Uses deep neural network trained on raw game data; beats world’s strongest player Grzegorz “MaNa” Komincz.

Board games

Board games

Poker: A complex multi-player card game that involves betting, guesswork and reasoning.

AI champion: Pluribus (Carnegie Mellon University & Facebook )

AI played trillions of hands of poker against itself and defeated top professionals at six-player No-Limit Texas Hold’em Poker.

Chess, Go & Shogi: Two-player strategy games with billions of possible positions.

AI champion: AlphaZero (DeepMind)

Starting from blank slate knowing just the rules of the games, the system was soon able to defeat human champions (like Go player Lee Sedol) and even computer champion (Stockfish). It also showed moves no earlier player had ever thought of. Now grandmaster Magnus Carlson says he wants to learn a few tricks from AlphaZero.

Friends with AI

Friends with AI

Two video games have incorporated AI systems that help out human players.

Quake III Arena: 3-D multiplayer-focused first-person shooter video game.

Tie-up: In 'Capture The Flag' version of the game, DeepMind’s AI players successfully cooperated with humans players.

Interactive 3D Virtual World: Video games with AI-generated graphics.

Tie-up: The demo by US tech company Nvidia lets players move through a virtual urban environment rendered by a an AI system trained on real-life videos.



Rubik’s Cube: 3-D puzzle with innumerable combinations but one goal.

AI champion: DeepCubeA (University of California)

With reinforcement learning, the system solved all configurations and found the shortest path to the goal in most cases.

Not cracked yet

Not cracked yet

Four games that AI systems have not yet been able to play as well as us humans

Angry Birds: Physics-based puzzle asks players to use reasoning and planning to solve variety of unseen levels within a time limit.

Bridge: Trick-taking 52-deck card game with four players.

Mahjong: Ancient Chinese strategy game with 144 tiles played by four individuals, all aiming to win most sets of tiles.

Dungeons & Dragons: A fantasy roleplaying game with several player characters.


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