In a what could be seen as an indicator of where humanity’s relationship with A.I (Artificial Intelligence) is headed, the world’s top Go player, AlphaGo is about to set its eyes on other prizes after demolishing its human opponent, Chinese grandmaster Ke Jie and Korean grandmaster Lee Sedol in recent competitions.
Demis Hassabis, whose Google-owned artificial intelligence lab DeepMind told WIRED that the team that built the machine are the top people and that they will be moved to other projects.
Chinese grandmaster Lian Xiao said this week after playing a match alongside the machine that “AlphaGo extended the horizon of Go games and brought more imagination to the game”.
He also said after playing alongside AlphaGo that the machine “… acts like a human being. He is very confident and gives me confidence. He helps me believe I should take the helm.“
AlphaGo learns to master the mysteries of Go by playing game after game against itself. Though it typically does this under strict time limits—seconds or milliseconds for each move—DeepMind has released games that played out over several hours, much like professional matches. “These are beautiful games, with moves no one has seen,” says Fan Hui, the European Go champion who helped train AlphaGo.
The game of Go originated in China 3,000 years ago. The rules of the game are simple: players take turns to place black or white stones on a board, trying to capture the opponent’s stones or surround empty space to make points of territory. As simple as the rules are, Go is a game of profound complexity. There are an astonishing 10 to the power of 170 possible board configurations – more than the number of atoms in the known universe – making Go a googol times more complex than Chess.
Go is played primarily through intuition and feel, and because of its beauty, subtlety and intellectual depth it has captured the human imagination for centuries.
AlphaGo is now seen as the first computer program to defeat a professional human Go player, the first program to defeat a Go world champion, and arguably the strongest Go player in history.
However, the next incarnation of the machine is expected to handle tasks beyond the game of Go.