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Starcraft: we programmed a world only to be beaten by programs

1 min
mental model
Shawn L
Builds stuff minimally
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Put 1000 people to battle Starcraft.

Only 2 will win.

If the 2 players continue to fight the AI, they will eventually face a defeat.

The AI learns from every play. Emotionlessly.

Is the AI cheating? That’s our response when we’re beaten.

But ‘cheating’ has no meaning to the AI.

If the players cheated, the AI will learn the cheats and cheat them back.

The AI had no one to complain.

My career path to e-sport pro is doomed?


Perhaps in the future, e-sport is where humans let their AI battle out.

Chess, Go, Dota…

There’s only 1 goal for everyone in the game - to win.

There are limited moves that one can take. Millions maybe, but not infinite. It’s a closed-loop system.

AI can perform better than human in all closed-loop system.

Here are some closed-loop systems I can think of:

  • Finding items in a warehouse.
  • Maths problems you learned during the 12 years in school.
  • Driving, if the AI has spent enough time in Vietnam.

Problems like “what to eat for dinner” may take longer for an AI to figure out.