Artificial Intelligence has conquered Dota 2

It came, it saw, it conquered. Artificial Intelligence has been known to be incredibly good at solving certain tasks and learning various types of systems for at least two decades. In 1997, an AI system defeated the world’s Chess champion at the time, Garry Kasparov. Years later, another AI system defeated the world’s Go champion, a game that’s probably even more complex and difficult to master than Chess. Now, an AI system developed by one of Elon Musk’s companies, OpenAI, has crushed a team of high MMR Dota 2 players in a demonstrative Bo3 match.

It’s a disastah!

Last weekend, OpenAI demolished a team made up of top Dota 2 analysts and professional players, easily taking a 2 – 0 vitory over them in two entirely one-sided games. The first lasted around 21 minutes and ended with a score of 39 – 8 and a networth advantage of 13K in favor of OpenAI. The second game lasted a bit longer, 25 minutes, but ended in a similar fashion: 41 – 12 kill score and a 14K networth advantage for the AI system. In other words, a crushng defeat for the human team.

These types of differences are usually recorded in open qualifiers for big tournaments, when tier 1 professional teams encounter low MMR amateur teams. But the players that got destroyed by the AI bots in this match rank in the top 0.05%. That’s a scary thought to begin with.

A simplified game

One thing that gives humanity some hope that it might still be better than the AI at a hypercomplex game such as Dota 2 is the fact that for the time being, OpenAI hasn’t mastered Dota 2 as a whole. It only knows about a subset of the game’s elements, so it’s yet to prove that it can master all of its complexity, which is much greater than the 18 hero pool that was used at the OpenAI vs. Humans event. Around 100 other heroes that amount for a vast number of possibilities are yet to be explored.


The challenge ahead

Another thing that makes me feel good as a human being and leaves a little bit of hope in my mind that maybe we’re still smarter than our own creation is this: OpenAI is yet to face the tier 1 professional teams that will be playing at The International 2018. Sure, the players it faced last weekend were pretty strong ones, but they didn’t constitute a real Dota 2 team with set strategies and perfect team play. So we’ve yet to see how OpenAI performs against the likes of, Team Liquid and PSG.LGD.

It’s only a matter of time

Still, in spite of what remains uncertain with regard to OpenAI’s capabilities, it’s probably just a matter of time until it has mastered the entire complexity of Dota 2 and learnt how to beat anyone under any conditions. Given that the system improves by playing against itself for the equivalent of hundreds of years of human experience per day, it’s almost a fact that at some point over the next few years OpenAI will become the undisputed Dota 2 champion. Complex games like Chess and Go have already faced that reality and Dota 2 will almost certainly be the next victim.