Computers are now defeating us in casino table games. Libratus, an Artificial Intelligence system developed by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University has been squaring off against four professional poker players since Jan 11. Libratus is up nearly $800,000 through 80,000 hands of heads-up no limit Texas Hold'em against the four pros. "It's not about the money," said Jason Les, a professional from Costa Mesa, CA, in an interview with The Verge. With 40,000 hands left to play, the $800,000 deficit is nearly impossible for the humans to make up.
Developers of artificial intelligence (A.I.) now have an added incentive to pursue their work: $5 million dollars. The prize money was announced at the annual TED conference Wednesday, in a joint initiative between tech giant IBM and X Prize, the company behind the world's first private space race to reach the moon. Motivating the backers of this competition is, among other things, a desire to demonstrate the potential benefits to mankind of advances in A.I., but many skeptics have yet to be convinced. "Personally, I am sick and tired of the dystopian conversation around artificial intelligence," said X Prize founder Peter Diamandis when unveiling the prize. The competition challenges teams to "develop and demonstrate how humans can collaborate with powerful cognitive technologies to tackle some of the world's grand challenges," according to an X Prize statement.
Companies and developers focused this week on showcasing their latest games and hardware for the upcoming year at E3 2017. However, developer Electronic Arts wants to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to plan out its longer-term future. At a press event Saturday, EA unveiled an internal group dubbed SEED, which is short for its Search For Extraordinary Experiences Division. While details on the new division's goals were initially scant, EA CEO Andrew Wilson highlighted the company's ambitious goals for the group in an interview with Glixel. Read: Apple Siri 2.0 Might Have Machine Learning, Improved AI, Facial Recognition And More Wilson said EA's recent push to make its Frostbite engine the core of its major franchises allowed the studio to start thinking more broadly about what it can do technologically with games.
On May 11, 1997, a computer showed that it could outclass a human in that most human of pursuits: playing a game. The human was World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, and the computer was IBM's Deep Blue, which had begun life at Carnegie Mellon University as a system called ChipTest. One of Deep Blue's creators, Murray Campbell, talked to the IDG News Service about the other things computers have learned to do as well as, or better than, humans, and what that means for our future. What follows is an edited version of that conversation. IDGNS: Is it true that you and Deep Blue joined IBM at the same time?