AI beats four best human players at poker

Is your computer bluffing? 

When Tuomas Sandholm began studying poker to research artificial intelligence 12 years ago, he never imagined that a computer would be able to defeat the best human players. “At least not in my lifetime,” he says.
But Sandholm, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, along with doctorate student Noam Brown, developed AI software capable of doing just that. The program, called Libratus, successfully defeated four professional poker players in a 20-day competition that ended on Jan. 30. After playing 120,000 hands of heads-up, no-limit Texas Hold’em, Libratus was ahead of its human challengers by more than $1.7 million in chips.

Games have long served as tools for training artificial intelligence and measuring new breakthroughs. Google’s Deepmind AlphaGo software made headlines last year after it defeated legendary player Lee Sedol in the ancient and highly complex Chinese game of Go. IBM’s Watson, which is now being used for everything from diagnosing diseases to aiding in online shopping, is still best known for beating Jeopardy! champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in 2011. And who could forget when IBM’s Deep Blue defeated then-world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1996?

What makes poker different than a game of chess or Go is the level of uncertainty involved. Unlike those aforementioned games, poker players don’t have access to all of the elements in the game. Whereas chess and Go players can view the entire board, including their opponent’s pieces, there’s no way to tell which cards an adversary might be holding, other than players’ “tells.” Conquering games like poker, known as “imperfect information” situations, opens up new possibilities for computers in the future, says Sandholm.


Consider that defense industries are at least 10 to 30 years ahead of the technology we can read about.  The logical conclusion, if you accept that, is that AI is already running the world. Most major events you see unfolding politically are calculated ploys by AI players (China, Russia, USA, and at least one other) to maximize desired goals. It would be a closely guarded secret if AI was behind the 9/11 terror attacks. 

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