I know - we're, like, this close to Skynet, but Blizzard just don't care, as they've announced that Starcraft 2's DeepMind AI will be taking part in Battle.net competitive ladder, where it will keep honing its world-destroying skills.
We're joking of course, but you already knew that. Anyway, Blizzard wrote, "Experimental versions of DeepMind’s StarCraft II agent, AlphaStar, will soon play a small number of games on the competitive ladder in Europe as part of ongoing research into AI."
Starcraft 2 players are free to choose whether they're willing to help Blizzard out in their research, and if you're not keen on testing your mettle against a digital opponent, you can opt out in the in-game 1v1 Versus menu.
"For scientific test purposes, DeepMind will be benchmarking AlphaStar's performance by playing anonymously during a series of blind trial matches. This means the StarCraft community will not know which matches AlphaStar is playing, to help ensure that all games are played under the same conditions", they wrote.
Needless to say, any proper scientific testing will rely on Starcraft 2 players playing as if they're facing regular human opponents, which is how DeepMind will benchmark and train its agents. DeepMind will actually be deploying a number of experimental AlphaStar agents, so as to improve the viability of the results.
"DeepMind is currently interested in assessing AlphaStar's performance in matches where players use their usual mix of strategies. Having AlphaStar play anonymously helps ensure that it is a controlled test, so that the experimental versions of the agent experience gameplay as close to a normal 1v1 ladder match as possible. It also helps ensure all games are played under the same conditions from match to match. DeepMind will release the research results in a peer-reviewed scientific paper along with replays of AlphaStar's matches.
AlphaStar will play the latest version of Starcraft 2 and has no problem playing as Terran, Zerg or Protoss, but the testing period will only involve Europe. Note that this version is more restricted than the earlier DeepMind AI demo , because that one was used to see how the AI fares against the best players in the world.
You can learn more in Blizzard's blog post here .