Nook, the artificial intelligence that beats bridge champions

“It’s really the only robot that can beat champions,” champion Nevena Senior confirmed on Thursday night, among the players invited to Paris for this challenge to be broadcast and commented live on YouTube. (Image: 123RF)

Paris-Nook, an artificial intelligence designed by French start-up NukkAI, is in the process of overcoming Paris in an unprecedented challenge, defeating eight international bridge champions while the popular card game is still too complicated to manage. until now. machine.

Thursday, at the end of the first of two days of competition organized by the start-up, Nook performed better than the champions in 90% of the 50 games (“segments”) played in the challenge, according to Jean- Baptiste Fantun, the general manager of NukkAI.

“It’s really the only robot that can beat champions,” champion Nevena Senior confirmed on Thursday night, among the players invited to Paris for this challenge to be broadcast and commented live on YouTube.

The Nook is “more advanced” than other bridge -playing robots and “very good at defining the limits of its opponents”, also greeted Brad Moss, another gamer, after a day in front of his microcomputer on NukkAI area.

Nook didn’t make a perfect showing on the bridge, as he only played part of the bridge’s existing “contracts” (the “three no-trumps”).

He also did not play in the early part of the game, where four players specified the contract to be played by successive and increasing announcements.

But its designers have already proven that they designed something “very original, very creative”, delighted Cédric Villani, the French deputy and mathematician who came to observe the challenge live.

“It’s exciting to see players study the game machine after the fact, and try to improve themselves”, commented Mr. Villani, author of a parliamentary report that in 2018 inspired the strategy of the French government on artificial intelligence.

Nook’s secret lies in its “hybrid” character, i.e., the ability to combine two great traditions of artificial intelligence, “symbolic” intelligence, based on the accumulation of logical rules, and “digital” intelligence, based on previous ingestion. of large amounts of data of neural networks.

Working with people

This hybrid character dramatically gives him the possibility to explain his choices, a challenge for these neural networks that are very efficient, but often remain “black boxes”, with indeterminate decisions even for their own designers.

To (re) read: AI to understand and predict inflation

Thanks to this self-explanation faculty, NukkAI opens up a way that can make it possible to have “something that looks more intelligent than we’ve seen in recent years”, underlined Cédric Villani.

For Jean-Baptiste Fantun, this “enlightenment” is essential so that man can maintain control and not be overtaken by his creature.

“We don’t intend an artificial intelligence that replaces people, but that works together and over which people are always in control,” he explains.

On the bridge, the goal is to get to an AI “that works with the person, tells him“ I’m going to play such a card, but what do you think, because you might have information that I don’t have ”,“ like psychological information, says by Véronique Ventos, AI researcher and co-founder of NukkAI.

The clarification is “absolutely necessary” in the field of defense, suggests another representative who came in as an observer, Fabien Gouttefarde, a specialist in defense issues.

“When deadly weapons” that use artificial intelligence “are at stake, it’s important to know how they arrived at their decisions”, suggests this elected official from Eure, author two years ago of a report on “lethal autonomous weapon systems”.

NukkAI resumed its showdown on Friday at the Paris headquarters of Bpifrance bank.

The start-up, which has raised 2 million euros over four years, now wants to climb a gear, and is looking to raise more than 10 million euros to deploy the Nook in diverse areas. such as cybersecurity, education or transportation, according to Jean -Baptiste Fantun.

Leave a Comment