Fantasy Football-Playing AI Beats 99 Percent of Humans

This fantasy football player beats out 99 percent of its competition. What's its secret? It's an artificially intelligent computer program that's designed to play fantasy European football — that is, soccer — in the Europe-based Fantasy Premier League. If it had played against the league's 2.5 million human participants in 2010, it would have beat all but 2,500 people, its creators found. 

Now, the three computer scientists from the U.K. and Greece who wrote the program are working on mastering that last one percent, IEEE Spectrum reported. Meanwhile, the researchers think that the lessons they learn here will help them build a program that also has to do with forming different teams to respond to different threats. 

"We found that forming teams of emergency responders is a challenging task because it requires you to forecast what's going to happen in the environment and how the team is actually going to perform," Sarvapali Ramchurn, a University of Southampton computer scientist who worked on the soccer program, told Spectrum. "That's the kind of domain we've sort of been studying and trying to apply our techniques to in order to help them. We also look at forming teams of humans and robots." 

To improve the program, Ramchurn and his colleagues will add more detailed player statistics they've found. They'll also add a human touch, asking real people the strategies they use. And they'll enter their program into the Fantasy Premier League this year.  

"We're planning to enter for real now, in the real league, and see whether we can actually show off how well the fantasy football player is playing against actual humans every week," Ramchurn said.

Source: IEEE Spectrum

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