24 May, 2017
Google's artificial intelligence program defeated Ke, the world No. 1 in the ancient board game, by a half point in 289 moves in the first round of a special Go event named "The Future of Go Summit" in Wuzhen, China. Go was previously thought as being beyond the reach of algorithms due to its notorious complexity, but artificial intelligence has made major progress in self-learning.
The second exhibition match, Team Go, is more straightforward: five Chinese pro players will basically gang up on AlphaGo, working together in an attempt to take the AI down.
Go is one of the most popular games in the world, with millions of players in East Asia.
AlphaGo has built up its expertise by studying older matches and playing thousands of games against itself.
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In the first of three planned games in the eastern water town of Wuzhen, the AlphaGo program held off China's world number one Ke Jie in front of Chinese officials and Google parent Alphabet's chief executive Eric Schmidt. "In the past it had some weaknesses but now I feel that its understanding of the Go game and its judgments are beyond our ability", he told the audience through a translator. It didn't aim to trounce Ke Jie, but simply to beat him by whatever means. "AlphaGo is like a different player this year compared to last year".
AlphaGo has improved markedly since it defeated South Korea's top competitor a year ago and is a "completely different player", Ke told reporters.
The win over Lee was hailed as a technology landmark, fuelling visions of a fearless new world of AI that cannot only drive cars and operate "smart homes", but potentially help mankind figure out some of the most complex scientific, technical, and medical problems.
Researchers at the university developed the first computer program to defeat the world's top checkers players, and the U of A was also involved with the software that dominated humans at chess.
There are more possible Go moves than atoms in the universe, according to Google, which would have made it impossible for the AI to "play ahead" all the moves until it found the winning ones. In Pair Go two human players, Gu Li and Lian Xiao will each have Alpho Go as a teammate as they play each other. Ke mentioned that the gap between humans and A.I. was widening greatly, and AlphaGo was beginning to move away from using human teachers as inspiration, and starting to develop its own methods for playing the game. The game can't be found on numerous most-watched streaming services in China, such as Tencent Video and Sina.com.