You may have heard of when DeepMind’s AlphaGo defeated many of the top players of Go a little while ago, or way back when IBM’s DeepBlue defeated a Chess champion in 1996, and how amazing and revolutionary it was…
Well, not even video games are safe now as 3 teams of 3 former pros of the video game Dota 2, a current pro of the game, and an eSports commentator, were beaten by AI just a few days ago; more specifically beaten by 5 AI bots created by OpenAI, a non-profit AI research company co-founded by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
If you don’t know what Dota 2 is, well it’s pretty much a PC MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) video game created by Valve; I’ve already talked about it in some detail here, so check it out if you want more information about the game, and where to download it (it’s free 😉 ).
In short though, it’s a very complicated game, and one that requires months of practice if you have any hope of competing against the pros… it’s certainly not an easy video game, and the fact that 5 AI bots defeated some of the best Dota 2 players in the world is frightening…
What This Could Mean for Esports
While the final score of the matches were 2-1 to the bots, meaning that there was a game where humans managed to beat them, this is a very scary time for eSports nonetheless.
Will human players even be able to compete in eSports any more if bots like what OpenAI have created can easily defeat humans at one of the most complex and challenging video games in the world?
What will they be like in other genres of video games, like First Person Shooters (FPS) or games like Rocket League with a mix of racing and sports? Will human players be replaced by AI in eSports?
What’s more, the developers of the bots plan to take them to Valve’s official international tournament, where they’ll go up against some of the best Dota 2 players in the world… is this the beginning of a new chapter in eSports?
Now, there’s no doubt that AI will play video games far better than humans ever would, and it would be amazing to watch too; it might possibly bring in many more viewers for the companies that host them, ultimately earning them even more money than before.
Furthermore, an eSports player usually earns an income with sponsors… and sometimes the amount can be huge; if AI were to replace them, they would be out of a job, and would have to find somewhere else to get an income from…
Maybe the world of eSports will change altogether when it comes to sponsorships and instead turn into a betting scheme where people will place bets on which AI will win a match… Maybe different companies will create different variants of AI to compete in video game tournaments, with the winning company receiving a large prize pool…
Of course, I may be just rambling and a bunch of bots beating some people at a complex video game won’t suddenly and drastically change the industry as we know it… but we’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds.
This May Have Been Just a Showcase to What AI Can Do
Until we find out what the outcome of the bots competing in the international tournament in the future will be, what happened with these 5 bots may have simply been another showcase for the things that AI can do well, and how it does stuff better than we humans can.
That was the ultimate goal of the two AI’s which went up against the champions in the infamous Chess and Go matches… this could very well have been the same goal for the 5 AI bots too…
AI has come a long way since the days of Alan Turing and the birth of computers, and what better way to show them off and get people excited for them than with the most popular form of entertainment in the world right now… video games.
The fact that these 5 bots have beaten pro Dota 2 players shows that they are a force to be reckoned with… it really makes you wonder what other video games AI developers will create bots to be better than humans at…
So, Are Gamers Becoming Obsolete?
While the future of eSports quite possibly hangs in the balance to how these bots fare in the upcoming international championship, are gamers in general becoming obsolete?
No. I don’t believe they are.
We shouldn’t be worried about AI taking over our precious video games because, let’s face it, that is something that doesn’t really need to be automated like the thousands of jobs that will be in a few decades time.
In fact, I think if proper competitive AI was developed for video games – different from the default AI in games that wouldn’t cheat at the game such as having perfect aim with hit scan weapons, like snipers or railguns – one that would act like another human being, it would make video games much more thrilling and intense, especially if it offered a lot of people a good challenge.
I believe that is the future we are looking at for video games; I may be wrong, of course, but it’s nice to try and look ahead into the future and predict what might happen… you may be very surprised if your predictions were close to the truth. 😉
And that marks the end of this post. If you’ve made it this far without getting bored of my incoherent rambling, then I want to thank you ever so much for hanging in there. 😉
I’m sorry for this post being a random buzz of words; I just wanted to share my opinion of what AI beating pros at a video game might mean for eSports and gaming in general.
If there was something you wanted to say about either this post or what your thoughts on AI and video games or eSports are, please don’t be afraid to jot down a comment below. 😉
Jamie – the PC Gaming Nerd