In DepthARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

AI takes on video games in quest for common sense

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Science  17 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6403, pp. 632-633
DOI: 10.1126/science.361.6403.632

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Summary

Next week, scientists working on artificial intelligence (AI) and games will be watching the latest human-machine matchup. But instead of a single pensive player squaring off against a computer, a team of five top video game players will be furiously casting magic spells and lobbing (virtual) fireballs at a team of five AIs called OpenAI Five. They'll be playing the real-time strategy game Dota 2 at The International in Vancouver, Canada, an annual e-sports tournament that draws professional gamers who compete for millions of dollars. In 1997, IBM's Deep Blue AI bested chess champion Garry Kasparov. In 2016, DeepMind's AlphaGo AI beat Lee Sedol, a world master, at the traditional Chinese board game Go. Computers have also defeated humans in checkers and some forms of poker. But fast-paced multiplayer video games pose a different kind of challenge, requiring computers to collaborate and manage unpredictability. The goal is common sense, which could help AIs handle real-world situations such as navigating traffic and providing home care—even if they never have to face a magic spell.

  • * Matthew Hutson is a journalist in New York City.