Google’s DeepMind Defeats Legendary Go Player Se-dol Lee in First of Five Games

[ The Verge ] From South Korea, Sam Byford:

Go is an ancient Chinese board game that has long been considered one of the great challenges faced by AI. While computer programs now best the world’s leading human players of games like checkers and chess, the high level of intuition and evaluation required by Go has made it tough for computers to crack. DeepMind’s AlphaGo program is the most advanced effort yet, using a complex system of deep neural networks and machine learning; it beat European champion Fan Hui last year, but Lee Se-dol is another proposition entirely.

“I don’t regret accepting this challenge,” said Lee. “I am in shock, I admit that, but what’s done is done. I enjoyed this game and look forward to the next. I think I failed on the opening layout so if I do a better job on the opening aspect I think I will be able to increase my probability of winning.” Lee was surprised both by how strong AlphaGo’s opening was, and by some unexpected moves.

Neural networked machine learning versus a human player. I not sure if that is a fair setup. What would be fair is AlphaGo versus Se-dol Lee and the top 100 Go players in the world, connected to one another, sharing what might be the best move and then having Se-dol Lee make the final decision. That would be fair. Another way would be for AlphaGo to not have an Internet connection.

Nonetheless it’s still impressive to watch a software algorithm beat a Go master, something that has never happened before 2015.

This Go tournament is best 3 out of 5: Alpha Go beat Se-dol Lee again in game 2. 2:0 AlphaGo. Commentary on the second game:

“Yesterday I was surprised but today it’s more than that — I am speechless,” said Lee in the post-game press conference. “I admit that it was a very clear loss on my part. From the very beginning of the game I did not feel like there was a point that I was leading.” DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis was “speechless” too. “I think it’s testament to Lee Se-dol’s incredible skills,” he said. “We’re very pleased that AlphaGo played some quite surprising and beautiful moves, according to the commentators, which was amazing to see.”