Artificial intelligence (AI) bots have already beaten humans at a number of board games and video games; this week the bots added another win by beating humans in a Quake III capture the flag tournament. Google’s DeepMind team assigned 30 AI agents to play the game without giving them any instructions about game play. After half a million practice games, the bots got very good. So good, in fact, that two-player bot teams won Quake III games against human-only or bot-human teams 74 percent of the time. By comparison, average human players won 43 percent of the time, and expert human players won 52 percent of the time.
Interestingly, however, when researchers put more bots on a team, they actually became less likely to win, suggesting that the AIs have a lot to learn about teamwork.
The article notes, “As ever with research like this, the aim is not to actually beat humans at video games, but to find new ways of teaching agents to navigate complex environments while pursuing a shared goal. In other words, it’s about teaching collective intelligence — something that has (despite abundant evidence to the contrary) been integral to humanity’s success as a species.”