Google artificial intelligence beats world champion in first game of Go tournament

An artificial intelligence computer program has won its first match against the human champion of Go, which some consider to be the most complex board game ever created.

Designed by Google’s DeepMind project, the AlphaGo program began the five game tournament Wednesday afternoon in Seoul against the world champion Lee Sedol. AlphaGo’s first match against Sedol lasted three and a half hours, with Sedol ultimately resigning.

AlphaGo relies on two networks of computerized neurons to predict its opponents moves and learn from its own mistakes. The AI program defeated the European Go champion in a secret tournament last October. Google DeepMind announced the victory in late January.

Go is played with marbles and involves a board arranged in grid. Each player places marbles on the grid’s intersection points with the mission of surrounding an opponent’s tokens and occupying as much of the board as possible.

A $1 million prize will be awarded to the winner. Google’s DeepMind has announced that they will donate the winnings to UNICEF as well as societies for Go and STEM.

The tournament is scheduled to continue on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The final match will be played next Tuesday.

You can follow the tournament on Google’s Asia Pacific blog. Each match will be streamed on YouTube, and you can watch the first contest below.