This is how AI in video games will change the future of work

video game 2019

(Unsplash, 2019)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Zach Roesler, Senior Program Manager, Frog Design


The recent victory of DeepMind’s artificial intelligence (AI) over professional gamers in StarCraft II, may prompt many to wonder why Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is investing hundreds of millions of dollars a year to play games.

While DeepMind innovates in many fields, games like StarCraft and Go before that, demonstrate a computer’s ability to be intuitive. In this case, intuition means that the computer is able to act unconsciously, non-rationally, and quickly, surpassing ordinary processing to deeply understand the information and the situation at hand. Given that these games have a nearly infinite number of moves, DeepMind’s successes show that the AI is aware of its environment and of other players.

This intuition is valuable beyond the gaming environment and is expected to be replicable in many aspects of society. It will be something that people will eventually interact with on a daily basis in their jobs. Just as one can play alongside the computer in a game, the same will be possible in the workplace.

In developing this technology, the AI improves through imitation learning, which imitates past trajectories, and self-play, observing the play of people and then playing against different versions of itself, each time learning from the best player in previous iterations. It’s much the same as humans learn, except that the AI learns much faster.

It’s not as simple or straightforward as it may seem. Given the escalating increase in computing power, this most recent DeepMind endeavour may be the largest scale AI project that has ever existed, requiring a tremendous amount of talent, computing power, and money. Without the resources of Google behind it, such an accomplishment would be unlikely.

While DeepMind is focused on AI research, other companies are working to leverage such progress and innovation to create everyday uses, particularly in the enterprise space. AI is already used by companies to optimize their organizations, and provide data that influences how roles are performed.

In observing how players win at games, the AI learns from their successes and failures. Similarly, AI will be used to identify how employees succeed and make mistakes in their jobs. The AI will then be able to help employees in preventing mistakes before they happen. This could be as simple as making sure that all aspects of a form are filled out correctly, or as complex as creating the foundation for an investment bank’s financial model.

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