Technology 3 min read

HIRO AI Builds Better Civilizations Than Humans

monticello /

monticello /

We may soon be conquered by Skynet, but at least we had fun while it lasted. The company Arago is using a strategy game to teach its new AI, giving fans of the game Freeciv a tough new opponent to beat.

The game Freeciv is a strategy game based on the popular Sid Meier’s Civilization series. In Freeciv, players manage their empire in order to take down other player empires. By developing, trading, and conquering, players vie for the top spot as the most powerful.

Freeciv complicated game with many moving parts. While computer-controlled opponents understand the complete game index, their playstyle is too rigid to beat the best human players.

Human players are better able to make judgments based on the variables of the game. Yet, thanks to Arago’s HIRO AI, there is now an AI opponent that plays more like a human.

Hiro AI Playing FreeCiv |

How HIRO AI is Using a Game to Improve

At the TechCrunch Disrupt London 2016 conference, Arago announced that its AI, HIRO, was able to best 80 percent of human opponents in the game Freeciv. This win percentage is a very impressive feat for an AI. A player needs to be able to learn as they play, and HIRO is proving very adept at doing just that.

The company uses “trainers” to teach the AI how to adapt to certain situations. These situations are drawn from human player experience.

Experiences are conveyed to HIRO via actual words, and the AI uses a reasoning component to understanding them. HIRO gets more efficient the more it uses its faculty for reasoning. Simply put, the more the HIRO AI plays, the better it gets, much like its human counterparts.Click To Tweet

HIRO can also learn from other AI agents. As a result, HIRO beats lesser computer-controlled opponents nearly every time.

The AI is not meant to be solely focused on Freeciv. Instead, Arago is trying to create a more general AI that can learn and perform a range of tasks. Freeciv just happens to be a good way to tune the learning capabilities of the AI, due to the nature of strategic thinking and the massive amount of community feedback that Arago can get from the game.

HIRO has Other Uses

Recalling various concepts and applying new contexts to them is a difficult prospect for any AI. Mastering this enables an AI to help solve problems in the real world. Arago’s primary purpose for the HIRO AI is to aid IT professionals.

HIRO gets better at understanding a given system over time. It adapts. For IT professionals, HIRO AI’s adaptive learning technology will make it more useful over time.

A general AI template with a keen ability to learn like HIRO highlights a new pursuit in AI technology. Most AI programs are created for highly specialized tasks or research, but HIRO may inspire the future AI Omni-tool.

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