Skip to Content
Artificial intelligence

Tencent’s AI programs defeat Starcraft’s own AI

September 24, 2018

AI researchers at the Chinese tech giant Tencent have posted details of two programs capable of beating the “cheating” AI found in the popular video game Starcraft.

The AI programs, called TStarBot1 and TStarBot2, were able to defeat the AI built into Starcraft, which has a superhuman view of the entire game. The programs use quite different approaches to achieve the same ends. The first employs advanced machine learning, while the second follows carefully crafted rules. Neither is sophisticated enough to defeat an expert human player, however.

Ready player none: Starcraft is an important new challenge for AI researchers, for two reasons. First, it’s a complex and sprawling game. Second, it involves a deferred reward—it’s difficult for a program to know if it’s doing well until relatively late in the game, so simple trial-and-error learning doesn’t work well.

London v. Shenzhen: The Alphabet subsidiary DeepMind, famous for developing AlphaGo, a program that mastered Go using reinforcement learning, is working on its own Starcraft AI programs. But it has yet to announce something quite as capable as Tencent’s programs.

Copycat no more: Rumor has it that Tencent has a lab dedicated to replicating DeepMind’s achievements. Yet Tencent, which operates China’s dominant mobile social app, WeChat, has been investing heavily in AI research. And it would seem that the company’s researchers are now making strides of their own.

Deep Dive

Artificial intelligence

open sourcing language models concept
open sourcing language models concept

Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free

Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3

images created by Google Imagen
images created by Google Imagen

The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images

Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.

AGI is just chatter for now concept
AGI is just chatter for now concept

The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it

Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.

From data and AI aspirations to sustainable business outcomes

There are 3 common challenges that organizations face while transforming AI aspirations into scalable and intelligent solutions. Get an insider’s view of use case scenarios that illustrate real business and functional value through a proven framework and process toward sustainable digital transformation. About the speaker Vishal Kapoor, Vice President, Data and AI, Kyndryl Vishal Kapoor…

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.