by Patrick Caughill, Futurism
RISE OF THE (GAMING) MACHINES
As time progresses, we hear of more and more artificial intelligence (AI) systems being developed that can defeat the world’s greatest game players. It’s pretty much a constant one-upping of Tall Tales for the information age. But instead of John Henry versus the steam-powered hammer at steel driving, we began our new era in 1997 with Garry Kasparov versus IBM’s Deep Blue at chess.
Since then, more complex AI systems have been able to become the best at a variety of games. IBM’s Watson beat Jeopardy! Super-Champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, and Google’s DeepMind beat the world champion of Go. Now, the Libratus AI system is looking to expand this winning streak for his team by taking on some of the greatest human players in a game of Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker.
The demands of a game like poker are quite different from the likes of chess or Go. The latter games are called perfect-information games. In other words, each player knows the moves being made and can extrapolate information using a finite set of remaining moves and potential outcomes. Conversely, poker is an imperfect-information game, with more possible hand configurations than there are atoms in the universe.