Google AlphaGo AI beats human Go champion

A Google artificial intelligence algorithm on Tuesday inched closer to re-claim the title of world champion of the ancient Chinese game of Go, besting his human opponent in the first match in a best-of-three championship.

The algorithm, called AlphaGo, is the brainchild of DeepMind, the artificial intelligence research arm of Google, parent company, Alphabet. It was facing off against the 19-year-old Kie Jie, which is the current human world champion of Go, a game similar to chess that requires players black or white stones on a board and place the pieces or surround empty spaces to build areas.

“Last year was still very young when he played,” Mr. Ke told the New York Times after AlphaGo’s victory on Tuesday. “But this year, it was as a god of Going.”

If the algorithm wins a second game, it will be the second time it has stolen from the Go the crown of a human opponent. Last year, AlphaGo defeated the previous world champion Lee Sedol in Seoul, Korea. That tournament was a five-game series that saw AlphaGo winning the first three matches, though the tournament continued just for the fun of it, with Sedol making a comeback in the game four only to be defeated again in the final.

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Go is a strategic game and the players—human or otherwise—must regularly adjust and adapt to their opponents ‘ moves. That makes it an ideal challenge for artificial intelligence, the use of machine learning techniques in order to avoid repetition of his own mistakes from the past, as well as that of the human competitors, if DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis noted during Tuesday’s contest.

“Ke Jie is with the help of the ideas AlphaGo used in the master series of online games in January against AlphaGo,” Hassabis tweeted. “Be intriguing to see what it will do.”

In the end, the algorithm will eventually beat Jie by just half a point, which suggests that the outcome of the last two games is anyone’s guess.

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