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Humans Are Still Better Than AI at Starcraft--For Now

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Professional StarCraft player Song Byung-gu playing against a real-time artificial intelligence system

A professional player beat 4 artificial intelligence programs in less than 30 minutes to win a recent "StarCraft" tournament in South Korea.

Credit: Minhyung Lee

A recent "StarCraft" tournament in South Korea pitting a human champion against four artificial intelligence (AI) programs tested the AIs' skills in playing a real-time computer game requiring the simultaneous use of memory, strategizing, and advanced planning within a constrained, simulated environment.

Professional player Song Byung-gu defeated the four AIs in less than 30 minutes total, even though the bots could move faster as well as multitask.

Song notes while human gamers initiate combat only when they stand a chance of victory, the AIs attempted to keep their units intact without taking any bold actions.

Sejong University professor Kim Kyung-joong says the bots were partly limited by the lack of widely available StarCraft training data, and other experts predict AIs eventually will beat professional players once they get sufficient training.

"When AI bots are equipped with [high-level] decision-making systems like AlphaGo, humans will never be able to win," says University of Science & Technology professor Jung Han-min.

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