DeepMind has achieved yet another milestone in the gaming world. The Google-owned artificial intelligence lab announced on Thursday that its new "AlphaStar" AI had beaten two of the world's best StarCraft II players. The pros that AlphaStar beat are Dario Wunsch and Grzego rz Komincz -- they're ranked 44th and 13th in the world respectively. The victories are being hailed as a major breakthrough by academics and AI industry watchers. While there have been several successes in video games such as Atari, Mario, Quake III Arena Capture the Flag, and Dota 2, AI systems haven't been able to deal with the complexity of StarCraft.
An artificial intelligence has defeated two top-ranked human players in the computer game StarCraft II, using some strategies rarely encountered before. On Thursday, gamers were able to watch the AI agent, called AlphaStar, expertly command armies of "Protoss" units against the professional players. The result: The AI beat the humans 10 out of the 11 matches. "I was surprised by how strong the agent was," said Dario "TLO" Wünsch, one of the human players. "AlphaStar takes well-known strategies and turns them on their head."
Losing to the computer in StarCraft has been a tradition of mine since the first game came out in 1998. Of course, the built-in "AI" is trivial for serious players to beat, and for years researchers have attempted to replicate human strategy and skill in the latest version of the game. They've just made a huge leap with AlphaStar, which recently beat two leading pros 5-0. The new system was created by DeepMind, and in many ways it's very unlike what you might call a "traditional" StarCraft AI. The computer opponents you can select in the game are really pretty dumb -- they have basic built-in strategies, and know in general how to attack and defend and how to progress down the tech tree.
DeepMind has ambitions to solve some of the world's most complex problems using artificial intelligence. But first, it needs to get really good at StarCraft. After months of training, the Alphabet-owned AI firm's AlphaStar program is now capable of playing a full game of StarCraft II against a professional human player – and winning. It might sound frivolous, but mastering a game as complex as StarCraft is a major technological leap for DeepMind's AI brains. The company showed off AlphaStar in a livestream where the five agents created by the program were initially pitted against professional player Dario "TLO" Wünsch in a pre-recorded five-game series.
Deepmind presented an AI that could beat human champions at Starcraft II. It claimed the AI was limited to what human players can physically do, putting its achievement in the realm of strategic analysis rather than finger twitchery. But there's a problem: it was often tracked clicking with superhuman speed and efficiency. They have not succeeded in this and most likely are aware of it. I suspect Deepmind wanted to restrict it to a more human like performance but they are simply not able to.