Google's AlphaGo AI Beats Human Go Champion

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I  O developer conference

This week, China is hosting one of the most anticipated conferences on artificial intelligence (AI).

Ke Jie is expected to face off the mighty AlphaGo yet again in the second game, which is scheduled to kick off on Thursday (Wednesday evening in the US) in Wuzhen, China. Instead, it's moves which will most likely lead to victory.

Today's game was one of three happening between AlphaGo and Ke Jie this week at the Google-hosted Future of Go Summit in Wuzhen, China.

"I think everyone recognizes that Ke Jie is the strongest human player", Michael Redmond, 9th-dan professional and commentator, told reporters before the game started.

But a visibly flummoxed Ke - who past year had declared he would never lose to an AI opponent - said AlphaGo had become too strong for humans, despite the razor-thin half-point winning margin. It will also take on a team of five top-ranked Go players and later act as a teammate for two human players facing off against each other. It also sets out to look at how machine learning may be able to solve problems using methods that human experts may not have considered. Last year, the AlphaGo AI defeated Korean Go legend Lee Se-dol 4-1 and gained prominence.

Ke, who holds multiple world titles, played black in the first game, with AlphaGo taking the white stones.

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Lee, however, said he believes the 19-year-old Chinese Go player will do better in the next game.

The algorithm, called AlphaGo, is the brainchild of DeepMind, the artificial intelligence research arm of Google parent company Alphabet.

A year after AlphaGo defeated Lee Sedol, an 18-time world champion at Go, the AI faced Ke Jie, who is now considered the world's best Go player. As was pointed out by former Microsoft and Google China executive Kaifu Lee, the result of the battle between Ke and the updated AlphaGo actually has no other possibility.

But DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis dismissed such concerns. "It will not be the end of the world if AlphaGo wins. I will never give up", Ke said. He'd seen the matches against Sedol, as well as other matches played by AlphaGo online under the nickname of "Master", so he could understand a little better how the Google AI likes to play. "There are 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible positions - that's more than the number of atoms in the universe, and more than a googol times larger than chess".

AlphaGo now has huge influence on the Go circuit, and was star turn at the Future of Go Summit, organised by Google, in China this week.

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