SEOUL, Nov. 1 (Korea Bizwire) – Humanity can breathe a sigh of relief as pro gamer Song Byung-gu (alias Stork) defeated four different AI systems in one-on-one Starcraft matches on October 31.
Taking place at a packed Student Center at Sejong University’s Seoul campus, Stork roundly defeated AI systems developed in Australia, Norway, and the United States.
Amidst an environment of heady anticipation, Stork made quick work of all three opponents, each of them in approximately five minutes. In every match, the AI systems employed a strategy called a “four drone rush” that is often an all-in move meant to end the game early. Needless to say, Stork outmaneuvered the attacks and earned whoops of admiration from the crowd for his deft strategical skills.
Though ZZZK (Australia) and TSCMOO (Norway) were ranked as the top two AI Starcraft players, decided through a prior AI-only tournament, they proved to be no match against a professional with years of top-flight experience. Cherrypi, the U.S. AI that was designed with the participation of Facebook, fared no better.
The only machine that managed to put up a somewhat respectable fight was MJ bot, designed by Sejong University professor Kim Kyeong-joong. After the matches were concluded, Stork stated that MJ bot was his trickiest opponent.
The event drew considerable attention, in large part due to the Google DeepMind Challenge Match, the widely publicized five-game series of the Chinese game Go played by South Korean champion Lee Sedol and AI Alpha Go last year. Lee’s loss left many shocked, while doomsday prophesies reminiscent of Terminator became topics of everyday conversation.
Stork’s victory was embraced by those in attendance even more as two other “ordinary” gamers, whose skill levels were described as average and below average played and were crushed in their matches against the same AI competition that Stork had faced. The below average player only won one out of three, while counterintuitively the average player lost all three matches played, an unsettling reminder that AI is at the very least an opponent worthy of consideration.
Professor Kim, in a short introduction before the match began, predicted that Stork would win, pointing out that his AI does not possess the same learning capabilities as Google Deep Mind’s Alpha Go and is thus a “lower-level AI”.
Regardless, those who witnessed the spectacle were left both impressed and concerned. One Sejong University student in the audience remarked, “Maybe it’s because Starcraft is a game with many variables to consider, but as of now, I think it’s a stretch for an AI to beat a human. However, in one or two years, I believe that AI may stand shoulder to shoulder with humans, and that scares me.”