|▲ Gamescom 2011, Starcraft Show Match. Photo by Marco Verch, via Wikimedia Commons|
A human StarCraft player has defeated four StarCraft AI bots in a battle reminiscent of last year’s Go battle between human player Lee Se-dol and Google’s AI bot Alpha Go.
While in the game of Go, Lee Se-dol fell to a 4-1 loss, this time around, the human’s gained a valuable victory.
The StarCraft matches were held at Sejong University in Seoul as part of a competition that has been running since 2010 between different AI developers. This year, however, was the first time that an AI has faced a human.
The matches were between a player called Song Byung-gu, a professional StarCraft player who plays for team Samsung Galaxy and AI bots from Australia, Norway, Korea, and Facebook’s AI research lab.
In StarCraft, players defeat their opponents by overpowering them. This usually involves destroying all their opponents buildings. As the game is played out in real time, it is thought to be much harder for an AI bot than Go as they aren’t given time to develop a strategy.
While this time around the human player had the definite advantage, there are plenty of things that must give the AI developers hope for their future chances.
Firstly, while the bots lost to the professional player, they did actually manage to convincingly beat two amateur players 5-1.
As well as this, the AI bots can complete a significantly higher number of actions per minute than human players.
While the sight of human StarCraft players frantically hammering at a keyboard is no-doubt incredibly impressive, even the best StarCraft players can only give around 200 commands per minute. However, the AI bot from Norway was able to complete 19,000 commands per minute.
Perhaps the most important change was that in August, the company behind StarCraft released a set of tools that will help programmers in their mission to become better than even the best human players.
They will do this by making it much easier for AI developers to deploy and test machine-learning algorithms inside StarCraft.
Duncan Elder firstname.lastname@example.org