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AlphaGo defeats S. Korean grandmaster in Go tournament

Posted: 16 Mar 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Google  AlphaGo  Go  artificial intelligence  South Korea 

A machine is the reigning new champion of Go.

Google's Go-playing computer programme, AlphaGo, emerged victorious on Tuesday with four wins and one loss against South Korean grandmaster Lee Se-dol, Wired reported. Lee, considered one of the world's top Go players, missed out on the ₹6.71 crore ($1 million) prize after only managing to snag a single win in the best-of-five series.

AlphaGo, developed by British computer company DeepMind, was acquired by Google in 2014. Since then, the programme started building "its expertise by studying older games and teasing out patterns of play," according to a BBC report.

DeepMind co-found Demis Hassabis described it as "deep reinforcement learning." In an interview with UK's The Guardian, Hassabis explained: "It's the combination of deep learning, neural network stuff, with reinforcement learning: so learning by trial and error, and incrementally improving and learning from your mistakes and your error."

AlphaGo joins other AI programmes that have bested humans at checkers, chess, and even poker. Three years ago, a programme called Ponanza defeated Japanese chess expert Shinichi Sato in a shogi match.

Like shogi, go is a game too complex to play, and even if Lee managed to turn the tables and win against the machine, let's face it, a lot of us—the so-called non-fans—will still be unmoved with the news. EE Times' Junko Yoshida had the perfect words. She didn't care "who" won. Why? Because it was only a matter of time.

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