OpenAI Five wins a best-of-three, looks to International next

OpenAI Five wins a best-of-three, looks to International next
Visualization showing OpenAI Five’s expected win probability after each hero was picked. Credit: OpenAI

What can happen if computer-controlled bots go up against a team of top human players? The formidable playing team of OpenAI Five managed to defeat human teams at Dota 2 recently, and made a lot of news doing so.

The OpenAI blog announced OpenAI Five won a best-of-three against a team of 99.95th percentile Dota players: Blitz, Cap, Fogged, Merlini, and MoonMeander—four of whom have played Dota professionally—in front of a live audience and 100,000 concurrent livestream viewers.

Vlad Savov in The Verge reported OpenAI Five was playing with the best. Savov said victory was impressive against such well-known Dota personalities as Ben "Merlini" Wu, William "Blitz" Lee, Ioannis "Fogged" Lucas.

Tech watchers were obviously caught up in the player spirit. The Verge announced that the OpenAI Dota 2 bots defeated a team of former pros "And it wasn't even close."

Engadget chose the word "steamrolled" to write about the victory achieved by the all-bot contenders. So, it was a high mood pitched by words like "slaughter" "paste" or "steamroll." Just as Ars Technica said, " the computer didn't just beat the humans—it crushed them."

The OpenAI blog explained some high points about the game. "We also showed our preliminary work to introspect Five's view of the game, including its probability of winning, which made predictions surprising to the human observers."

What made the bots successful? "The typical Dota 2 game, even on the professional tier, involves quite a bit of equivocation about whether to engage in a fight, try and shift it to a more favorable battleground, or run away from it completely," commented Savov. "The OpenAI team just doesn't need the processing time that humans require."

Bright said, "Most important of all, the bots were expert trash talkers. The OpenAI Five bot calculates its win probability throughout the game, and, from time to time, it would all-chat this probability. In doing this, it showed that you don't need to be racist or sexist to effectively demoralize an enemy. The mere statement that "We estimate the probability of winning to be above 95 percent" is enough to crush the spirit."

What's next? The team said their results are making them feel good about their next showcase adventure, when they play real professionals this very month at The International. The Verge said they will take on the very best Dota 2 players at Valve's The International 8. Maybe you can call it The ultimate test.

"Later this month, the best Dota 2 teams in the world will meet in Vancouver for the biggest tournament of the year, The International," said Jamie Rigg, Engadget. Bright described it as the tournament that's the climax of the competitive season.

Mike Brown in Inverse reported that "Elon Musk praised the work of the OpenAI team on Monday, after a set of artificial intelligence bots beat a semi-professional team at the Dota 2 video game in a San Francisco showdown Sunday. Musk, who co-founded the research firm, marked the victory by reiterating the need for a brain-computer interface that would enable man and super-smart machine to coexist peacefully."

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