Bit of interesting news in the world of gaming from a while back; an AI beat a couple top StarCraft 2 players. Here is a link to get you started, but if you dig deeper there is a lot more context on how it happened, and how the AI evolved.
The main reason why the AI won, however, is that it was able to perform more action-per-minute (APM) than even a pro human player is capable of, and because of this, it was able to heavily out-macro during battles and win. Part of why this happened is that because in a game like Starcraft, the ‘strategy’ part isn’t nearly as deep or complex as the macro part, at least at the top end. Even a decent player will know the right build order, the right way to scout, and the right counters to what they see. Games at that level come down to who clicks better/faster when a battle breaks out, and its here that the AI was simply inhuman.
Which isn’t to downplay the accomplishments of the AI, it’s still impressive (and scary in a very Terminator-like way), but does raise the question about which games an AI could win at today, and which games I don’t believe it could. For starters, obviously an AI would dominate in a FPS, which is why aimbot hacks are banned in the first place. A slow, but zero RNG game like Chess is also one where an AI will win; it can simply calculate every possible combination, and always pick the best one (that Chess has a lot of said combinations is just a temporary issue, not a hard barrier).
I’d be very curious to see how such an AI would do in a game like League of Legends however. On the one hand, it would be very, very strong in things like perfect timing on last hits, and perfect coordination of skill usage and cooldown management. On the other hand, top players are already near-perfect at last hitting, and not that far off in CD management. But what makes LoL much different from SC is that LoL is less about APM, and more about situational decision making. How a team fight happens, and what happens in it, is a lot more chaotic than a SC battle, as there is simply more ‘stuff’ involved (more unique abilities, item builds, positioning, etc). I’m not saying the AI would lose, but I think it would certainly struggle more than in a game like SC.
I think the AI would get crushed in a game like Civilization. It would have zero APM advantage, but its calculating power like in chess would also be more limited as Civ has a lot of RNG in it, and how you react to that RNG is what really makes someone at great player. It’s also why in LoL when you face the in-game AI its decent, while the in-game AI in Civ has to get massive hard-coded bonuses to challenge a decent player, and even then by the mid/late game the AI is still pretty bad/dumb.
Fun topic to think about IMO, and one that I’m sure will evolve as AI development improves.