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AI can learn real-world skills from playing StarCraft and Minecraft


Added 05-14-19 12:16:02pm EST - “By playing StarCraft and Minecraft, artificial intelligence is learning how to collaborate and adapt.” - Sciencenews.org

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Sciencenews.org: “AI can learn real-world skills from playing StarCraft and Minecraft”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

In the April 27 SN: The first image of a black hole, anxiety in preschoolers, an obscure sexually transmitted parasite, fossil finds spark a dinosaur debate, a quantum engine surges ahead and more.

Dario Wünsch was feeling confident. The 28-year-old from Leipzig, Germany, was about to become the first professional gamer to take on the artificial intelligence program AlphaStar in the rapid-fire video game StarCraft II. Wünsch had been professionally playing StarCraft II, in which competitors command alien fleets vying for territory, for nearly a decade. No way could he lose this five-match challenge to a newly minted AI gamer.

Even AlphaStar’s creators at the London-based AI research company DeepMind, which is part of Alphabet, Inc., weren’t optimistic about the outcome. They were the latest in a long line of researchers who had tried to build an AI that could handle StarCraft II’s dizzying complexity. So far, no one had created a system that could beat seasoned human players.

Sure enough, when AlphaStar faced off against Wünsch on December 12, the AI appeared to commit a fatal mistake at the onset of the first match: It neglected to build a protective barrier at the entrance to its camp, allowing Wünsch to infiltrate and quickly pick off several of its worker units. For a minute, it looked like StarCraft II would remain one realm where humans trump machines. But AlphaStar made a winning comeback, assembling a tenacious strike team that quickly laid waste to Wünsch’s defenses. AlphaStar 1, Wünsch 0.

Wünsch shook it off. He just needed to focus more on defense. But in the second round, AlphaStar surprised the pro gamer by withholding attacks until it had amassed an army that once again crushed Wünsch’s forces. Three matches later, AlphaStar had won the competition 5-0, relegating Wünsch to the small but growing club of world-class gamers bested by a machine. 

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