OpenAI, Elon Musk’s AI research group, has been teaching its artificial intelligence system to play the popular PC game Dota 2.
Last year, it was just starting the project from scratch. Now, the AI has advanced to such an extent, it’s beating former pros.
Dota 2 is a game of reflexes, teamwork, and most of all strategic thinking. Five players fight across a map to slowly gain strength, killing opponents over time, to finally destroy enemy tower and finally their home base. It needs quick decision-making to plan fights tactically on the fly, as well as execute them.
Last year, OpenAI’s Dota 2 bot beat a professional player in a simplified game mode in about a third of the map size. Back in May, it had progressed to playing full version matches, but was losing to amateur players within the research team. But this past week, the Dota 2 bots beat a team of professionals — former pro competitors Ben “Merlini” Wu, William “Blitz” Lee, Loannis “Fogged” Lucas, current pro player David “MoonMeander” Tan and regular commentator Austin “Capitalist” Walsh.