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Arago’s AI can now beat some human players at complex civ strategy games


Arago’s flagship HIRO AI product plays Freeciv, a free civilization building simulation that’s based on the popular and long-lived Sid Meier’s Civilization series of games – and it’s getting more skilled. Freeciv is a complex, sprawling game with a huge number of possible strategies that can lead to success, especially when playing against unpredictable human opponents, but HIRO can now even best around 80 percent of human players it faces off against, as announced by Arago at TechCrunch Disrupt London 2016 on stage.

How complicated can it be to succeed at a video game? Well, depending on options you select, as well as variables that can vary dramatically during the many, many turns that normally happen during any given game of Freeciv, the possibly permutations of individual games is 10 to the power of 15,000, meaning you require a very plastic AI indeed to successfully “learn” how to negotiate individual twists and turns.

Games prove a common platform for testing and proving AI prowess; Google’s AlphaGo is an example that has received a lot of attention for its successes. Arago notes that the number of possible moves in playing Freeciv is actually far greater than Go – by an exponential amount. Yet HIRO had less training from a smaller data pool before it began to best human opponents.

hans-christian-boos-arago

HIRO was already unbeatable when it comes to facing off against the “AI” opponents built-in to Freeciv that ship with the game (which is more than I can say for myself, and despite not having extra info like the built-in AI) but this is the first time that it’s been able to beat human players. It’s still not able to best all human opposition, but it’s still a marked indicator of progress for the platform.

Playing games like a pro is great, but it’s not HIRO’s only purpose – the AI service is primarily offered by Arago to enterprises who are looking to improve their IT automation across their business, and HIRO is used in that capacity to boost a company’s own human IT experts, and help make them and itself better over time.


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