Human-beating StarCraft 2 AI will compete anonymously in Europe

DeepMind’s professional StarCraft 2-playing AI is set to play against human players in the European competitive ladder.

StarCraft 2 is a complex real-time strategy game that can still throw surprises at you even years after playing. In other words, StarCraft 2 is great for testing an AI.

Back in January, AI News reported DeepMind’s so-called ‘AlphaStar’ AI beat professional human eSports players Grzegorz Komincz and Dario Wunsch.

AlphaStar is now taking a virtual trip to Europe where it will begin playing a “small number” of games on the StarCraft 2 competitive ladder. Human players won’t even be aware they’re playing against the AI as it will be anonymised.

Blizzard explained the reasoning behind the anonymisation:

“Having AlphaStar play anonymously helps ensure that it is a controlled test so that the experimental versions of the agent experience gameplay as close to a normal 1v1 ladder match as possible.

It also helps ensure all games are played under the same conditions from match to match. DeepMind will release the research results in a peer-reviewed scientific paper along with replays of AlphaStar’s matches.”

AlphaStar was trained on historic game footage that StarCraft’s developer Blizzard has been releasing on a monthly basis. Five versions of the AI battled each other to hone their skills in training which equates to around 200 years for a human.

Multiple experimental variants of AlphaStar will take part in the test and it will play 1v1 matches only. The test will be opt-in, so players will have to click an in-game popup to get involved. Basically, it’s a voluntary ass-whooping.

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