Cleverness isn’t everything for a gaming artificial intelligence

Buttonmasher is Douglas Heaven's monthly column about video games, and how the way we play is changing

It was like playing against a wall. That’s how European Go champion Fan Hui described the experience of losing five straight games to AlphaGo, an artificial intelligence built by Google’s DeepMind team. “The problem is humans sometimes make very big mistakes, because we are human,” he said. “The program is not like this.”

Computers play lots of different games these days. As well as Go, the DeepMind team have pitted their algorithms against dozens of 80s arcade games and 3D mazes based on 90s shooters. There are bot-on-bot events involving first-person shooters like Unreal Tournament. 

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