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AlphaGo Beats World's Greatest Go Player in China

by Ed Lauder
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DeepMind's Go playing AI, AlphaGo, has narrowly defeated Ke Jie, who's widely revered as the world's best Go player, in the first of three scheduled games.

DeepMind's AlphaGo went to China to take part in a series of Go games against the world's best players of the ancient Chinese game. The Go playing AI first set its sights on the 19-year-old Chinese world number one Ke Jie, who claimed that he would never be beaten by an AI opponent.

AlphaGo made the headlines last year when it comprehensively beat the South Korean grandmaster Lee Sedol four games to one. This was the very first time that an AI had ever beaten a human at Go, which is considered to be one of the hardest games for algorithms to play due to its focus on human-like “intuition”.

After the game, a depressed-looking Ke hailed AlphaGo as the new "Go god". He went on to say that AlphaGo had become too strong for humans to take on. “I feel like his game is more and more like the ‘Go god’. Really, it is brilliant,” he said. He went on to claim that he never wanted to subject himself to such a “horrible experience” again.

“This isn’t about man competing with machines, but rather using them as tools to explore and discover new knowledge together,” said DeepMind's founder Demis Hassabis before Tuesday’s match. “Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether AlphaGo wins or loses … either way, humanity wins.”

Before AlphaGo came about, people felt that AI was years away from mastering the game of Go, yet thanks to DeepMind's Go playing algorithm huge steps have been made in this area.

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