Elon Musk’s team of robots learns at a super fast rate and trains by playing 180 years worth of games in a day
Team of AI bots will compete at Dota 2’s world championship in August
By Ethan Rakin
When top teams eventually compete at one of the biggest e-sports events of the year – Dota 2’s world championship “The International” – some of them will be facing a very different opposition than what they’re used to: a team of artificial intelligence (AI) bots.
The team of AI players are a product of OpenAI – a research lab founded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman – which announced that it aims to beat “a team of top professionals at The International in August”.
The team, which is made of five neural networks dubbed the “OpenAI Five”, actually plays about 180 years worth of games in a day to learn and improve.
OpenAI challenged individual players last year in an one-on-one mini game, and now it will be moving on to team-based games; which introduces a whole new set of challenges when trying to teach AI the little tricks and intricacies that these games tend to possess.
Dota 2 is a real-time complex strategy game played between two teams of five players, with each player controlling a character called a “hero”.
Unlike chess, where AI has excelled, complex video games start to capture the messiness and continuous nature of the real world, which is hard for what is basically a robot to emulate.
To teach the “OpenAI Five”, reinforcement learning is used. It is essentially a trial-and-error method which the AI evolves from completely random behaviour to a more focused style of play.
Even with these methods, the AI still faces limitations. The bots can only use five of the 115 playable characters and must play against a team made up of the exact same characters.
Some decisions are made for them by humans, like which skills to level up in; and developers also restricted some items and prohibit some of the game’s more intricate abilities, such as invisibility.
Compared to humans, obviously the AI is able to access data like positions, health, and item inventories immediately, whereas we would have to check them manually. The “OpenAI Five” also has an average reaction time of 80ms, which is faster than humans.
So far, the “OpenAI Five” has been fighting amateur teams but it will be playing a top team on July 28 in preparation for “The International”.
You’d be surprised to learn that the goal is not to eventually win the tournament – which has a US$15 million dollar (S$20 million) prize pool – but instead learn more about how far AI can go. Still, one wouldn’t be surprised if the team of robots manages to shock the world.