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Google DeepMind AI defeats Go board game champion

By Jayesh Shinde | Published on 28 Jan 2016
  • This is not only an important milestone in the development of AI but also a feather in Google’s cap in beating ‘The Unbeatable Game’

Google DeepMind AI defeats Go board game champion

In a week that saw AI pioneer Marvin Minsky’s sad demise at the age of 88, it’s only fair that the world was graced with an artificial intelligence breakthrough unlike any other. An announcement that Google’s DeepMind AI has beaten a champion Go player – a human – for the very first time ever.

Why is this a big deal? Well, Go – the 2500 year old ancient Chinese board game – is one of the toughest games to crack by AI algorithm standards. Artificial intelligence experts have used Go as the holy grail for AI programs to find and best, simply because how difficult the game is. Go’s several times more challenging and difficult than Chess, which was the last major feather in AI’s cap as IBM’s Deep Blue program defeated world champion Gary Kasparov in 1997.

Watch the video below to understand the significance of Google DeepMind's AI achievement:

According to an article published in Nature, Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo system (based on advanced tree search and deep neural networks) was pitted against three-time European Go champion Fan Hui in a closed-doors match at Google UK’s London office in October 2015. AlphaGo defeated Fan Hui 5-0. It was the first time a computer program had ever beaten a professional Go player, according to Google. And a clean sweep at that!

What’s next for DeepMind’s AlphaGo? In March it’s going up against the reigning world champion of Go, Lee Sedol, in Seoul, South Korea in a best of five match series. Man vs Machine. Who will win?

AI proponents and deep machine learning experts (and companies) have been engaged in a silent race to see who ultimately cracks the Go game conundrum. For the time being, at least, Google’s DeepMind AI division seems to have cast the first stone.

In an age of rapid advances in deep learning and neural networks, especially in the areas of speech and image recognition, it’s no surprise that Google’s DeepMind AI would conquer the ancient Chinese game of Go. Now we wait for Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s next move in this exciting game of AI one-upmanship.

Wonder what would AI greats Marvin Minsky, John McCarthy and Alan Turing say of DeepMind AlphaGo’s achievement...

Read more:

Google expands its robotic portfolio, acquires AI startup DeepMind

Facebook AI Research lab opens in Paris

Demis Hassabis - Head, DeepMind - Digit’s Most Interesting People of Tech 2015

Official Google Blog announcement of Alpha Go’s achievement

Jayesh Shinde
Jayesh Shinde

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