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Meta’s new AI, CICERO, can beat humans in Diplomacy


The new AI agent uses natural language to negotiate with people and convince them to form partnerships and alliances, Meta claims.

Silicon Valley’s push to outplay the human mind has achieved another milestone. Facebook parent Meta claims it has developed an AI agent capable of defeating humans in language-intensive endeavors such as board game Diplomacy.

“CICERO demonstrated this by playing on webDiplomacy.net, an online version of the game, where CICERO achieved more than double the average score of the human players and ranked in the top 10 percent of participants who played more than one game,” Meta said.

Unlike many other avenues where AI has beaten humans, Diplomacy is a language-intensive game that requires opponents to understand each other’s motivations.

Players partake in simulated diplomacy, planning and adjusting strategies to achieve their goals. Misreading bluff or aggression quickly results in losing the game. At the same time, if players are unable to build relationships, they won’t find others willing to work with them.

According to Meta, CICERO has been so effective in using natural language to conduct negotiations other players often preferred working with Meta’s AI than with other human participants.

CICERO’s success is the result of combining strategic reasoning used by AI agents that beat humans in AlphaGo with natural language processing models such as GPT-3 and LaMDA.

“CICERO can deduce, for example, that later in the game it will need the support of one particular player, and then craft a strategy to win that person’s favor – and even recognize the risks and opportunities that that player sees from their particular point of view,” Meta said in a blog post.

Interestingly enough, Andrew Geoff, the World Champion of Diplomacy, noted that CICERO was highly consistent throughout the games. The AI neither softened its approach nor changed its motivation due to factors such as revenge.

“It’s ruthless in executing its strategy, but it’s not ruthless in a way that annoys or frustrates other players,” Geoff said.

Meta claims that its new AI demonstrated the capability for persuasive dialogue. For example, in one game of Diplomacy, CICERO asked one player for immediate assistance while pressing another to seek alliance later in the game.


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