OpenAI Five, an artificial intelligence engine backed by Elon Musk, has once again taken a team of semi-pro Dota 2 gamers to the cleaners. For the second year running, the self-taught system faced five top players at The International – an annual tournament organized by the game's developer and publisher Valve.
The human vs machine challenge began with a warmup match against the audience, which OpenAI won with ease. It then faced a team of some of the world's top players (Blitz, Cap, Fogged, Merlini and Moonmeander) in a best-of-three contest.
OpenAI Five hammered its human opponents in the first two rounds, but for the last game the audience picked a team of five heroes while the AI's were pre-selected. This gave the AI a sufficient handicap for the human players to take the final win.
The system mastered the game by playing against itself thousands of times until it had learned the optimum response in every possible situation. According to its developers, it's no better than a human in terms of actions per minute, but gets the edge by consistently making the best choices and predicting its opponents' actions.
"It still does seem that they have a much faster reaction when something shocking happens," said OpenAI researcher David Farhi.