OpenAI’s Bots Thrashed Former Professional E-Sports Players at Dota 2

“Dota 2” cosplayers at a Moscow event in 2016.

“Dota 2” cosplayers at a Moscow event in 2016. Roman Kosolapov/

The bots won two of the three matches played.

OpenAI’s bots defeated former professional "Dota 2" players Aug. 5, in a match meant to test the bots’ readiness to take on the world’s top players later this month at the game’s premier tournament, The International.

The bots, called the OpenAI Five, won two of the three matches played. "Dota 2" is a fantasy-style video game played professionally where teams of five characters work together to destroy an enemy’s base at an opposing side of a map. The OpenAI Five lost the third round after the audience was able to choose the teams’ characters for them. After analyzing the lineup, the bots gave themselves a 2.9 percent chance of winning, according to OpenAI CTO Greg Brockman.

While making "Dota 2" bots might seem like an easy way to make a quick buck—The International’s prize pool is $23 million—playing esports isn’t the end goal for the AI software. OpenAI is experimenting with teaching the same algorithm to manipulate objects with a mechanical hand, meaning the software it used for the game could also be used to control complex robotics.

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