OpenAI Five: How to Try Your Own Hand at Beating the A.I. Dota Dream Team

The OpenAI 5, an artificial intelligence-powered e-sports dream team that’s been mastering the game Dota 2 since 2016, took humanity one step closer to the singularity on Saturday. For the first time, OpenAI’s Dota 2 team was able to defeat a champion squad of professional e-sports players at the OpenAI Five Finals in San Francisco. The Dota 2-playing bots bested team OG, an elite group of gamers that took home the gold during last year’s The International tournament composed of 18 of the best Dota 2 in the world. Now, the organization that developed the OpenAI Five will let fans around the world try their hands at beating the bots that are helping to write A.I. history.

The event also kicks off the next stage in the OpenAI 5’s development. OpenAI’s co-founder and chairman, Greg Brockman, announced the team of bots was ready to begin taking internet randos after its historic win over the weekend. Interested gamers can now register their register their Steam account with the organization to have a chance at testing their Dota 2 skills.

“Special announcement: we’re inviting the entire Internet to play OpenAI Five (whether as a competitor or teammate) at once,” tweeted Brockman. “Sign up today! Very excited to see what we learn from observing OpenAI Five in the wild.”

The registration window will stay open until April 18 at 9 a.m. Eastern. After that, the games will begin and OpenAI Five will play contenders through April 21 at 2:59 a.m Eastern. OpenAI will let players sign up to play a ranked match against the bots, a casual game with friends against OpenAI Five, or a single-player category where teams are a mix of A.I. and humans. Users who sign up will receive an email that tells them when they should be online to play their match.

Once the games get started, OpenAI will list the results and leaderboards for each of the three game modes available to play. The initial influx of interested gamers was so massive that Jack Clark, OpenAI’s policy director, replied to multiple tweets complaining that the registration site had gone offline.

There is clearly a ton of interest among gamers hoping to prove they can outplay the championship-winning algorithm. But for OpenAI, letting anyone challenge its Dota-playing A.I. presents an opportunity to refine their already superhuman Dota 2 team even further

Interested gamers can sign up with their Steam account to get a chance to play OpenAI Five.


The OpenAI Five was developed using a deep reinforced learning A.I. system which taught itself how to play Dota 2 from scratch. Brockman explained that over the course of 10 months, the A.I. simulated 45,000 years of gameplay to develop professional-level skills. Now, the organization want to teach the software how to collaborate with human players, not just fellow A.I.-driven players. In the short term, the insights from these breakthroughs will lead to bots and tools that advise humans in game and help them win. But in the longer term, these insights will hopefully help develop all kinds of tools that assist humans and augment our abilities.

Video games have long been a barometer for A.I.’s capabilities. IBM’s DeepBlue and Google’s AlphaGo computer systems have not only built software that bests humans at popular games, they also helped lay the foundation for how humans can train intelligent software to be more helpful in different real-life scenarios.

A sneak peak of a visualization of OpenAI Five's objectives during a Dota 2 game.


Now that OpenAI has cracked the code for how to pwn humans at Dota 2, the organization will shift its resources and enter the next stage of its development. Sam Altman, OpenAI’s CEO, recently told The Verge that Saturday’s tournament will be the last time OpenAI stages a public match in this way, and it will instead focus on creating actual tools that help humans and machines collaborate.

“That’s an important lesson for how the world is going to work, training these things and have them work in parallel,” he said. “Collaboration is one of the more positive visions we have for the future of the world — AI works alongside humans to make humans better and have more fun and more impact.”

To start, this would presumably take the form of bots that can assist you while you’re playing Dota yourself, and assess which heroes will be most advantageous, or whether it’s worth it to revive a character. But in the future, the A.I.-powered assistants that help lawyers, accountants, and workers in any number of fields could all trace their roots back to a video-game playing program.