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Google’s DeepMind AI Is So Good It’s Beating Pro Gamers

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We drew one step closer to human obsolescence this week as Google announced its DeepMind AI beat two pro gamers at Blizzard’s StarCraft II.

The two companies confirmed that back in December the AI “AlphaStar” decisively beat both Team Liquid’s Grzegorz “MaNa” Komincz and Dario “TLO” Wünsch 5-0 in two separate five-game series. That’s a pretty dismal result for “team human.” Check out the demonstration game above.

In the past, computer games have been used to test the performance of artificial intelligence systems (or machine learning systems). AlphaStar, the first artificial entity to defeat a top professional player, has shown how this criterion will prove increasingly ineffective, as such technology continues to exceed human gaming capabilities.

Wünsch had apparently seen footage of AlphaStar playing, and had felt “extremely confident” going into the game. However, the AI’s unorthodox strategies proved to be too much for its human counterparts. One might assume that the AI was victorious thanks to faster-than-human reaction times, but in fact the AI’s actions such as clicks and key-presses were slower than the pros’. Ultimately the DeepMind team determined the wins were down to “superior macro and micro-strategic decision-making.”

This is a significant victory for machine learning, which has made light work of games such as Mario, Quake III Arena Capture the Flag, and Dota 2 in the past. Until now, however, the StarCraft game has proved too complex. This latest defeat against expert human adversaries is certainly one for the record books.

Isabelle is an Australian writer based in Berlin.

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PUMA Unveils Game-Changing Fit Intelligence Technology

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PUMA today announced its latest footwear technology. Dubbed Fit Intelligence (Fi), it is the successor to AutoDisc, which launched just two years prior.

According to the German sportswear giant Fi “is designed to automate, fine tune, and adjust performance fit for PUMA footwear.”

With Nike building on its auto-lacing technology with the Adapt BB and adidas forging ahead with its accelerated footwear production at its SPEEDFACTORY locations, PUMA looks to bring its own, game-changing technology to market.

The first Fi footwear to launch is a running shoe that employs a micromotor that powers a cable lacing system. Simply gesturing up or down on the forefoot Fi module tightens or loosens the lacing system. Additionally, it comes with a smart sensing capability that adapts to the shape of the foot of each wearer.

Using an app, sneakerheads can monitor, adjust, and fine tune their Fi-equipped footwear.

“We have created a product that speaks to the future of sport which is life in motion. It’s fast and changing all the time,” said Charles Johnson, PUMA’s Global Director of Innovation.

Fi is the latest step in PUMA’s continued attempt to push the boundaries of performance and lifestyle product. In 1968 PUMA debuted the first laceless sports shoe with Velcro™ straps and followed that up in 1991 with the first cable closure, seen on the PUMA Disc.