[REVIEW] : a French AI beats world bridge champions

Several world bridge champions have had to admit defeat to artificial intelligence. An unprecedented feat. This victory marks a milestone in the development of AI, as bridge requires a machine to learn human skills, unlike other strategy games like chess.

To demonstrate the potential of artificial intelligence, until now we used to oppose man to machine. The AI ​​trained beforehand by playing billions of games, learning known as “deep learning” and then faced a human, champion in its category. A technique that works perfectly to beat the best chess, checkers or go players. But not bridge, a card game that requires more communication skills.

It is for this specific purpose that NooK, a new generation artificial intelligence, has been trained. The latter managed to beat eight world bridge champions during a tournament organized at the end of March in Paris by the French company NukkAI, the coach of NooK.

If the challenge related to bridge is so important, it is because it incorporates characteristics that are still little mastered by the various artificial intelligences. This card game forces players to work with incomplete information and they must react to the behavior of their opponents around the table. This type of skill is difficult for a machine to acquire. Until Nook. At the Paris Bridge Tournament, the machine won 67 of the 80 rounds played, a win rate of 83%.

The concept of explainable artificial intelligence

But how to explain such a feat? How did NooK manage to adopt skills that are more human than technological? Everything is related to the concept of explainable artificial intelligence.

Instead, NooK represents a “white box” or “neurosymbolic” approach. Rather than learning by playing billions of games (with traditional deep learning), the AI ​​first learns the rules of the game, then improves its level through practice. It is a hybrid system based on rules and deep learning. “The NooK approach is learning in a much closer way to human beings,” said Stephen Muggleton.

Even if a person or an AI cannot explain in words what they are doing, their behavior must be “readable” for others, that is, they must apply rules that they understand. This will be essential in areas such as healthcare and engineering. Autonomous cars that negotiate a crossroads will have to be able to read the behavior of others, to react and, why not, to explain their approach. For the moment, there is still a lot to teach artificial intelligence, which does not understand, for example, the principle of bidding, an essential element for deepening communication… and lying.

A French AI victorious at bridge against eight world champions

For the first time in the history of mankind, an artificial intelligence has beaten several world bridge champions. This AI developed by the French start-up NukkAI, achieved a real tour de force. For Cédric Villani, it is even a “historic feat”.

The game of bridge is the most complex card game

The game of bridge is considered the most complex card game in the world because it requires making decisions based on incomplete information and the behavior of other players. Both tactical and collective, this game is (at least on paper) very difficult to practice for an artificial intelligence. However, the system developed by NukkAI succeeded a few days ago, to beat the greatest champions of the disciplineon the occasion of the first NukkaiChallenge to which Cédric Villani was invited

NukkAI’s work is very promising

For the mathematician and deputy of Essone, Cédric Villani, this demonstration is a real “historical feat”. He specifies on LinkedIn that beyond the exploit, “these are fascinating perspectives on the understanding of probabilistic reasoning, with hidden information and explainability of algorithms. A welcome revival of the interface between game, science and digital. A superb French success. A victory for AI over humans, reminiscent of the game of Go and the confession of Lee Se-dol who said in 2019 that he could no longer compete with DeepMind’s AI.

NukkAI is a promising young French shoot. Founded in 2018 by Véronique Ventos, researcher in artificial intelligence, and Jean-Baptiste Fantun, agrégé in mathematics and winner of the French Bridge Cup in 2017, this startup focuses its research on “artificial intelligence intended to collaborate with humans”. . According to Marko Erman, Scientific Director at Thales, “NukkAI’s approach is very interesting and the recent results obtained are very promising”.

A new generation AI, called Nook, beats several world bridge champions

An artificial intelligence has beaten eight world champions at bridge, a game in which human supremacy has so far resisted the march of machines. A feat never achieved before. These wins mark a milestone in AI development, due to the use of a “white box” AI, which learns skills in a more human-like way, needed to win at bridge compared to other games. strategy like chess.

Until now, to demonstrate the potential of artificial intelligence, we opposed humans to machines. The AI ​​trained by playing billions of games, in a process called deep learning or deep leatning, and faced a human opponent, the category champion. A technique that works perfectly to win against the best chess, checkers or go players. But not bridge, because it is a card game that requires more communication skills.

“NooK”, a next-generation artificial intelligence, has been trained for this very purpose. She managed to beat eight world bridge champions in a tournament that took place at the end of March in Paris, organized by the French company NukkAI, the trainer of NooK. One of the reasons bridge is so difficult is that it incorporates features that are not yet well understood by different forms of artificial intelligence. This card game requires players to work with incomplete information and react to the behavior of other players at the table. This kind of skill is hard to achieve for a machine. Until Nook.

French startup NukkAI announced the news of its AI victory on Friday, following a two-day tournament in Paris. NukkAI’s challenge required human champions to play 800 consecutive deals divided into 80 sets of 10. It lacked the initial component of the game, namely the auction, during which players reach a contract which they must then respect by playing their cards.

These opponents were the best robot champions in the world to date – robots who have won numerous robot competitions but are universally recognized as nowhere near as good as expert human players. The AI, called NooK, played the same role as the human champion, with the same cards and the same opponents. The score was the difference between the human’s and the AI’s, averaged over each round. NooK won 67, or 83%, of the 80 rounds.