AI has been quietly invading our lives. From our operating rooms to our roads, and even our homes. Still, we never expected AI to infringe on one thing in particular, our Super Smash Brothers. If you haven’t heard of Super Smash Brothers, do yourself a favor.
Super Smash Brothers is a popular video game series spanning multiple generations of gaming consoles. Unlike what we have seen AI do before with professional players in chess, poker, and the ancient game of Go— Super Smash Brothers is a particularly tricky game for AI.
In order to win, players must take full advantage of their environment, their character, and their enemy’s weaknesses. Players must be quick to weaken their enemies without taking too much damage so that they can knock their opponent off the stage, a feat demanding a proper strategy and a certain sense of ruthlessness.
So how did the AI do it? Software named Phillip was created by a Ph.D. student at MIT with the help of his friend from NYU. The pair constructed an AI that at first wasn’t too great at the game, but eventually, after a week of consistent practice, the AI was able to react 6 times quicker than a normal human. Clocking in reaction times at 33 milliseconds compared to 200 milliseconds human reaction time, Phillip was in his own alternate reality in the game.
Phillip faced off against a tenured, five-year champion, named Gravy. In a harrowing match, Phillip bested him 8 – 5.