Computer beats champion in ancient board game

"What Google and Alphabet have brought are all of the projects that we've been doing, to work on artificial intelligence", Schmidt told the conference.

Ke Jie (left) plays against Google's AlfphaGo in Wuzhen, East China's Zhejiang province, on May 23, 2017.

But AlphaGo's success is considered the most significant for AI yet due to the complexity of Go, which has an incomputable number of move options, putting a premium on human-like "intuition", creative thinking and the ability to learn.

Chinese Go player Ke Jie, left, looks at the board as a person makes a move on behalf of Google's artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo, during a game of Go at the Future of Go Summit in Wuzhen in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

"Interesting that Ke Jie has chose to play an very early 3-3 point as he knows #AlphaGo likes to play there", DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis tweeted near the beginning of the game. The 19-year-old Ke will be paid US$ 300,000 for the appearance and gets an additional US$ 1.5 million if he wins. In all of the games AlphaGo has played so far, Ke Jie said, "a weakness [in AlphaGo] has not been revealed yet". In Pair Go two human players, Gu Li and Lian Xiao will each have Alpho Go as a teammate as they play each other.

While playing down expectations of the outcome, he stressed that humanity's trumph over the machine is in the game's intangible magic, instead of the bits and bytes.


AlphaGo beat its first world champion last March, when it defeated South Korea's Lee Sedol in a five-game tournament. Ke Jie added that AlphaGo's unconventional play style has helped the game of Go evolve, and he believes that players of all skill levels should analyze the moves made by the AI.

Through deep learning, AlphaGo has continued to improve since its first victories, both in skill and efficiency.

Ke has alternated between awe and disdain for AlphaGo.

The program's margin of victory tendencies weren't exposed during its highly publicized matches against South Korean grandmaster Lee Sedol past year because all of those games ended in one player resigning before scores were counted. A site that follows Chinese censorship orders, China Digital Times, posted a translated notice from the government calling for all websites to block the broadcast. Humans have been playing Go, a complex board game, for centuries now.

Some calculate that there are 10 to the 360th power possible go positions, far more than chess or shogi. The game can't be found on numerous most-watched streaming services in China, such as Tencent Video and Sina.com.


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