Skynet This Week #6: Dota defeats, DeepFakes discoveries, rising robots, and more!

Skynet This Week #6
By Andrey Kurenkov and Alex Constantino

Our bi-weekly quick take on a bunch of the most important recent media stories about AI for the period of 07/30/18 - 08/13/18.

AI Advances & Business

The OpenAI Dota 2 bots just defeated a team of former pros

Vlad Savov, The Verge

OpenAI has showcased impressive progress on their AI bots trained to play the complex game Dota, as nicely summarized in the above article:

“A month and a half ago, OpenAI showed off the latest iteration of its Dota 2 bots, which had matured to the point of playing and winning a full five-on-five game against human opponents. Those artificial intelligence agents learned everything by themselves, exploring and experimenting on the complex Dota playing field at a learning rate of 180 years per day. Today, though, the so-called OpenAI Five truly earned their credibility by defeating a team of four pro players and one Dota 2 commentator in a best-of-three series of games.”

OpenAI has a good detailed write up of the games. Just about everyone agreed tackling this complex a problem with pure learning was an impressive achievement, though various caveats were only noted on Hacker News and Twitter:

“The AI was essentially pursuing a “death-ball” strategy of grouping as 4 or 5 and pushing right down a lane, which can be countered by picking mobile and fast heroes that can put pressure on different parts of the map and slow down the “death-ball” by forcing reactions. However, none of those heroes were draft-able, and so the humans were forced to play the AI’s strategy. The AI’s strategy favors team fight coordination (laying stuns correctly, and correctly calculating whether damage through nukes is sufficient to kill any particular target) and reaction times, at which the AI was clearly superior to the human team.”


The Defense Department has produced the first tools for catching deepfakes

Will Knight, MIT Tech Review

As we’ve previous covered, DeepFakes is a controversial application that creates videos with one person’s face substituted for another’s. A project funded the Defense Department has produced the first tools for catching these fakes, which rely on surprisingly simple techniques like watching eye movements.


Artificial Intelligence Continues Its Fundraising Tear In 2018

Mary Ann Azevedo, Crunchbase

A nicely brief look at four promising companies selling AI powered products (Drishti, Alloy, Avaamo, SparkCognition) that has recently raised fresh funding. It seems no AI winter is in sight:

“Funding in the AI sector has climbed steadily—and impressively—over the past decade. In 2017, investors pumped nearly $5 billion in U.S.-based AI startups. And trends point to 2018 being another great year for venture investing in AI and machine learning startups.”


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