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Google's AlphaGo Program Trounces World 'Go' Champion in Dramatic First Match

ByAllison EckNOVA NextNOVA Next

After three-and-a-half hours of play, world ‘Go’ champion Lee Se-dol of South Korea admitted defeat in his first match against Google’s artificial intelligence software, AlphaGo.

Prior to the wee hours of March 9 Eastern time, Se-dol said that he believed he’d win the tournament 5-0 or 4-1. But after reading more about AlphaGo (and especially after this initial ), Se-dol acknowledges that the computer program’s ability to imitate human intuition makes a human victory less likely. Se-dol now estimates that his chances of winning the five-match series (scheduled for March 8, 9, 11, 12, and 14 at 11:00pm Eastern time) are 50-50.

Go is speculated to be the most complex board game ever invented. Even the most sophisticated algorithms cannot make sense of it using mere calculative strategies. Thus, the AlphaGo system was designed in a way that combines neural networks with what’s called reinforcement learning. Learn more about AlphaGo here , and stream the tournament live through this Tuesday at the YouTube link below. You can read a play-by-play of the first match over at Wired.

Photo credit: Chris / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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