A look back at the computer future: You too, Sony? The Playstation company introduces a “superhuman AI” that can effortlessly outrun the gaming part of humanity. Is AI stealing our gaming motivation?
When artificial intelligence easily outperforms human know-how that has been painstakingly acquired over decades of work, it can be a source of frustration. This is what happened to Go champion Lee Sedol, who drew a particularly drastic conclusion from his defeat by Deepmind’s AI AlphaGo: He ended his career.
Or you react with composure (and at most a fist in your pocket), like chess superstar Garri Kasparov, who was a high-profile victim of an AI system back in the 1990s. Today, Kasparov emphasizes that one has to learn from artificial intelligence and learn its tricks. World chess champion Magnus Carlsen has even elevated the chess AI AlphaZero to hero status because he can learn so much from it.
After board games, AI is now taking the lead in some video games: Deepmind with Alphastar in Starcraft and OpenAI with the AI Five in Dota have dominated human professional players in recent years. To that end, it’s important to know: Typical video game “AI” has been no match for human pros in the past, especially in complex games. At best, gaming AI was considered a training object or a stopgap.
Now, however, a new generation of AI is gaining the upper hand, including in Sony’s racing simulation Gran Turismo. The AI system “GT Sophy,” trained with deep learning, outperforms human professionals – and, to top it all off, drives fairly and in an exemplary manner. This AI is simply untouchable.
And what does that lead to now? Could humans lose the motivation to strive for peak performance if the machine is eternally unreachable anyway? Or will the exemplary nature of artificial intelligence turn us into superhumans ourselves? Will there be more Sedols in the world – or more Kasparovs? Only time will tell.
For me, at any rate, a Gran Turismo AI is only a worthy opponent when my shit-talk drives it so up the wall that I can feel like the moral victor despite being two minutes behind in the faster car. And Sophy still has a long way to go for that.
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