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Why football, not chess, is the true final frontier for robotic artificial intelligence

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First was the Monte Carlo tree search, an algorithm that rather than attempting to examine all possible future moves instead tests a sparse selection of them, combining their value in a sophisticated way to get a better estimate of a move's quality. The second was the (re)discovery of deep networks, a contemporary incarnation of neural networks that had been experimented with since the 1960s, but which was now cheaper, more powerful, and equipped with huge amounts of data with which to train the learning algorithms. The combination of these techniques saw a drastic improvement in Go-playing programs, and ultimately Google DeepMind's AlphaGo program beat Go world champion Lee Sedol in March 2016. Now that Go has fallen, where do we go from here? Following Kasparov's defeat in 1997, scientists considered that the challenge for AI was not to conquer some cerebral game.


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#artificialintelligence

The perception of what artificial intelligence was capable of began to change when chess grand master and world champion Garry Kasparov lost to Deep Blue, IBM's chess-playing program, in 1997. Significantly more complex, requiring even more strategic thinking, and featuring an intricate interweaving of tactical and strategical components, it posed an even greater challenge to artificial intelligence. With a number of possible moves per turn an order of magnitude greater than chess, any algorithm trying to evaluate all possible future moves was expected to fail. Led by Hiroaki Kitano and Manuela Veloso, the ambitious goal set that year was to have by 2050 a team of humanoid robots able to play a game of football against the world champion team according to FIFA rules, and win.


Why football, not chess, is the true final frontier for robotic artificial intelligence

#artificialintelligence

First was the Monte Carlo tree search, an algorithm that rather than attempting to examine all possible future moves instead tests a sparse selection of them, combining their value in a sophisticated way to get a better estimate of a move's quality. The second was the (re)discovery of deep networks, a contemporary incarnation of neural networks that had been experimented with since the 1960s, but which was now cheaper, more powerful, and equipped with huge amounts of data with which to train the learning algorithms. The combination of these techniques saw a drastic improvement in Go-playing programs, and ultimately Google DeepMind's AlphaGo program beat Go world champion Lee Sedol in March 2016. Now that Go has fallen, where do we go from here? Following Kasparov's defeat in 1997, scientists considered that the challenge for AI was not to conquer some cerebral game.


What has twenty years of RoboCup taught us?

Robohub

In 1985, a twenty-two year old Garry Kasparov became the youngest World Chess Champion. Twelve years later, he was defeated by the only player capable of challenging the grandmaster, IBM's Deep Blue. That same year (1997), RoboCup was formed to take on the world's most popular game, soccer, with robots. Twenty years later, we are on the threshold of the accomplishing the biggest feat in machine intelligence, a team of fully autonomous humanoids beating human players at FIFA World Cup soccer. Many of the advances that have led to the influx of modern autonomous vehicles and machine intelligence are the result of decades of competitions.


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AI Magazine

Will we see autonomous humanoid robots that play (and win) soccer against the human soccer world champion in the year 2050? This question is not easy to answer, and the idea is quite visionary. However, this is the goal of the RoboCup Federation. There are serious research questions that have to be tackled behind the scenes of a soccer game: perception, decision making, action selection, hardware design, materials, energy, and more. RoboCup is also about the nature of intelligence, and playing soccer acts as a performance measure of systems that contain artificial intelligence--in much the same way chess has been used over the last century.