AI Data and its Applications in Esports

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Artificial intelligence has started its quest to revolutionise esports. In the past couple of years, both Elon Musk and Google have created ‘unbeatable’ AI bots that have vanquished their human foes at classic esports like Dota 2 (pictured) and StarCraft 2.  

This is just the beginning. AI and esports are growing evermore interconnected as humans learn from machines and vice versa. With artificial intelligence being used to do everything from eliminating match-fixing to improving gameplay, it seems as though there may be a future for AI and esports.

However, for many, part of the appeal of esports is the human stories, the emotion, the storylines and unpredictability of sports. AI may erode some of that.

Boosting the human experience 

The concept of artificial intelligence has been around since the origins of science fiction. As far back as the early 19th century, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein showed us a work of fiction about an artificially created being who was capable of independent thought.

Games are one of the key ways in which AI can display creativity while operating within fixed rules. The famous victory by the Deep Blue computer over chess champion Garry Kasparov was just the start of a long series of triumphs in other games like Go, poker and a variety of video games like Pong.

As such, it’s little surprise that AI would gradually make its presence felt in esports. AI has been used to do everything from provide more durable opponents for training to improve predictions and match analysis. 

Currently, there are specialist esports sites like Bettingtips.gg that use software to generate odds of how likely it is that a certain esports team could beat their opponents. But AI would go way beyond this to build a digital construct of each player’s performance from the past to devise a much more rigorous prediction for the future.

Plus, the AI software would be able to detect any anomalies in the gameplay that could suggest negative behaviour such as cheating or match fixing.

Building the ultimate AI opponent

Artificial intelligence is already being used as a coaching tool by several professional esports organisations. By using AI platforms such as SenpAI, gamers are benefitting from the AI algorithms to improve their gameplay on everything from League of Legends to Valorant.

Many of these improvements are based on the specialist use of in-game data that identifies any weaknesses that must be overcome. 

However, it’s the advent of the AI opponent that promises to take things to the next level. Playing against a computer opponent has been one of the core features of most video games. But artificial intelligence promises to provide us with much more creative computer opponents.

An AI opponent would constantly be learning behaviours from their human competitors. This means that AI opponents could get better with each game they play – to potentially give us virtually unbeatable competitors. 

Such titanic AI foes have already been seen in the OpenAI Five esports team that beat the Dota 2 champions in 2019. Plus with the news that IBM is building AI software for shoutcasting, it shows that artificial intelligence is only just getting started in revolutionising esports. 

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