Elon Musk’s $1 billion AI startup made a surprise appearance at a $24 million video game tournament — and crushed a pro gamer

Openai dendi dota 2
Dendi (far left) and OpenAI’s Greg Brockman (right) talk it out ahead of the first match. Screenshot/YouTube

Computers have already beaten the world’s best humans at classic games like chess and go.

Now one has beaten one of the world’s best players of the smart-hit video game “Dota 2.”

In a one-on-one exhibition match, a bot designed by OpenAI, the artificial-intelligence research nonprofit cochaired by Tesla Motors CEO Musk and Y Combinator President Sam Altman, defeated Danylo “Dendi” Ishutin, a professional player who’s estimated to have earned $US735,449.40 in winnings in his career.

“Please, stop bullying me,” Dendi said during the match.

OpenAI’s bot beat Dendi in the first match in about ten minutes; Dendi resigned from the second match, and declined to play a third.

With more time, he thinks he might be able to come up with a strategy.

“I don’t want to do it, please, I don’t want to believe it,” said Dendi, appearing on stage ahead of the match. During the match, he quipped that the bot was “scary.”

OpenAI had claimed before the match that its new system was better at the smash-hit video game than professional players. The organisation made a surprise appearance on stage at The International, developer Valve’s flagship $US24 million “Dota 2” tournament, just to prove it.

In a video ahead of the match-up, OpenAI CTO Greg Brockman explained that the company’s special bot was trained by playing a “thousand lifetimes” of matches against itself, with “coaching” from the company.

Artificial intelligence companies have a history of using video games to test their technology: Google’s DeepMind has tackled “StarCraft 2,” while a Microsoft AI team recently claimed to attain the high score in Ms. Pac-Man.

OpenAI isn’t just walking away after its victory. The OpenAI hopes to have its bot ready to play in a proper five-versus-five match next year, Brockman said. Meanwhile, the organisation is releasing the bot so that anyone can play against it. Valve is placing a bounty of in-game currency for the first players who can defeat it.