[Vision2020] A.I. Program From Google Beats Human World Champ In Game Of Go

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Thu Mar 10 18:11:03 PST 2016

I belonged to a Go game club at WSU once, sometimes hosted by a computer
scientist at WSU.  At that point in time, the best Go champions in the
world could beat any computer program at this complex game, considered by
many to be more difficult and complex than chess.

I have been checking periodically for years regarding whether computer
programs have developed to the level where they can beat the best human
players at Go.

We shall see what is the outcome of this series of matches.

This computer program involves a "...self-learning program... known as a
neural network..."

Once computers can program themselves to the point humans are irrelevant,
then maybe they will keep us around as pets... Otherwise?

Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett

A.I. Program From Google Beats Human World Champ In Game Of Go

Bill Chappell

*Updated *March 9, 20161:31 PM ET *Published *March 9, 201610:54 AM ET

In the first of a series of games pitting Google's AI computer against a
human world champion in the ancient game of Go, Google DeepMind's AlphaGo
program has narrowly taken Round 1 from Lee Sedol.

Sedol resigned with more than 28 minutes remaining on his clock, after a
game that included 186 moves. The game was played in Sedol's native South
Korea, the first in a five-game match that carries a prize of about $1

A brief recap from Google

"They were neck-and-neck for its entirety, in a game filled with complex
fighting. Lee Sedol made very aggressive moves but AlphaGo did not back
down from the fights. AlphaGo took almost all of its time compared to Lee
Sedol who had almost 30 minutes left on the clock."

"I was very surprised," Lee said after the match, according to The Verge
"I didn't expect to lose. [But] I didn't think AlphaGo would play the game
in such a perfect manner."

Sedol and AlphaGo will play four more times in the next week, taking breaks
on Friday and Monday. You can watch their first game — and hear analysis of
the strategies involved — on DeepMind's YouTube channel.

In it, Sedol is seen rubbing his neck and scratching his head as the close
match progresses. In the end, he carefully analyzed the board before
deciding to resign. Sedol then moved several pieces around on the board,
running through simulations of what might have happened if he had played

The win is the latest sign that a computer can make complex choices to
defeat an elite human competitor in Go, a game that's seen as being tougher
than chess. Last October, AlphaGo beat European champion Fan Hui, but he
isn't ranked on Sedol's level.

Here's how the International Go Federation
described that matchup:

"In the first of the five AlphaGo-Fan games, both sides played
conservatively and AlphaGo won by 2.5 points. In the rest of the match Fan
played aggressively, but AlphaGo outfought him and won four times by
resignation. Fan described AlphaGo as "very strong and stable ... like a

As NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reported Tuesday

"The Google program, known as Alpha Go <https://deepmind.com/alpha-go.html>,
actually learned the game without much human help. It started by studying a
database of about 100,000 human matches, and then continued by playing
against itself millions of times*.*

"As it went, it reprogrammed itself and improved. This type of
self-learning program is known as a neural network, and it's based on
theories of how the human brain works.

"AlphaGo consists of two neural networks: The first tries to figure out the
best move to play each turn, and the second evaluates who is winning the
match overall."
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