Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Man vs machine: live poker!

This blog has live updates from the competition. See also here for a video clip introduction. It appears the machine Polaris is ahead of the human team at the moment.

The history of AI tells us that capabilities initially regarded as sure signs of intelligence ("machines will never play chess like a human!") are discounted soon after machines master them. Personally I favor a strong version of the Turing test: interaction which takes place over a sufficiently long time that the tester can introduce new ideas and watch to see if learning occurs. Can you teach the machine quantum mechanics? At the end will it be able to solve some novel problems? Many humans would fail this Turing test :-)

Earlier post on bots invading online poker.


World-Class Poker Professionals Phil Laak and Ali Eslami
Computer Poker Champion Polaris (University of Alberta)

Can a computer program bluff? Yes -- probably better than any human. Bluff, trap, check-raise bluff, big lay-down -- name your poison. The patience of a monk or the fierce aggression of a tiger, changing gears in a single heartbeat. Polaris can make a pro's head spin.

Psychology? That's just a human weakness.

Odds and calculation? Computers can do a bit of that.

Intimidation factor and mental toughness? Who would you choose?

Does the computer really stand a chance? Yes, this one does. It learns, adapts, and exploits the weaknesses of any opponent. Win or lose, it will put up one hell of a fight.

Many of the top pros, like Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Paul Phillips, Andy Bloch and others, already understand what the future holds. Now the rest of the poker world will find out.

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