OpenAI Takes On Esports Pros This Week in Vancouver

For the second year in a row, a specialized team of AI bots will take to the biggest stage in esports and battle human oppenets—and most likely crush the competition.

The OpenAI Five will hit the main stage of The International 2018 this week on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to take on a team of five Dota 2 professionals. OpenAI’s team consists of five specially-trained bots that were created by engineers at the non-profit research firm. OpenAI is one of the premier companies in its field, sponsored by partners including Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Sam Altman.

Dota 2 is a complex game where two teams of five choose from a pool of over 100 heroes, each with unique abilities and skill sets, to battle through a map and destroy the other teams base. The complexity is compounded due to the fact that these heroes can purchase items augmenting their skills.

The show matches will take place before and between professional competitions on the main stage as more than 20,000 excited fans look on. A similar competition took place last year as OpenAI challenged a professional player in a one-on-one match and easily managed to beat them. This new OpenAI team will consist of five bots playing another five humans, and they are expected to once again take home an easy win.

Professional Dota 2 players have commented on the OpenAI bots, saying it is impossible to be mechanically better than them, and that the only way to have a leg up is through unorthodox decision-making and lucky breaks.

Stats on the OpenAI Five are impressive. On the company’s blog outlining the bots, it states that “OpenAI Five plays 180 years worth of games against itself every day, learning via self-play. Using a separate LSTM for each hero and no human data, it learns recognizable strategies. This indicates that reinforcement learning can yield long-term planning with large but achievable scale — without fundamental advances, contrary to our own expectations upon starting the project.”

The matches are just for fun and carry no weight—which is a good thing, considering The International has a prize pool of close to $25 million this year, one of the largest ever prize pools in the history of esports. To check out the artificial beating yourself, head here for a full schedule of The International.