Tech

Google’s Artificial Intelligence Program AlphaGo Defeats Human Go Champion

Google's Artificial Intelligence DeepMind AlphaGo program beat human Go champion Lee Se-dol in the first of a series of games in Seoul, South Korea.

Google’s Artificial Intelligence DeepMind AlphaGo program beat South Korea’s Lee Se-dol in the first of a series of games in Seoul, South Korea.

Go is a is a 3,000-year old Chinese board game. Each player puts down either black or white stones in an attempt to outmaneuver and surround the other player.

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Unlike chess, it is a notoriously difficult game for computers to master because of the incomputable number move options, meaning the computer must be capable of human-like “intuition” to prevail.

Throughout most of the game Lee seemed to have the upper hand, but in the last 20 minutes, AlphaGo took an unassailable lead, forcing Lee to hand victory to his AI opponent after 186 moves.

“I was very surprised because I did not think that I would lose the game. A mistake I made at the very beginning lasted until the very last,” Lee said. “Normally, you can sense your opponent’s breathing, their energy. And lots of times you make decisions which are dependent on the physical reactions of the person you’re playing against. With a machine, you can’t do that.”

“What an incredibly exciting game,” DeepMind co-founder and CEO Demis Hassabis said in  a statement. “Lee Se-dol is a formidable opponent, famed for his fighting style, and AlphaGo decided to go toe-to-toe with him, which made for a tense, close-fought game. We still have four games to go, so anything can still happen. Whatever the outcome, we feel this match is a testament to the power of human ingenuity.”

Lee has won 18 Go world championships since turning professional at the age of 12.

The two sides will play a total of five games over the coming days for a prize of about $1 million.

AlphaGo was developed by British computer company DeepMind which was acquired by Google in 2014.

(Image: Google)

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