Go - ancient games meet modern ai

Go is the oldest continuously played game in the history of our species. Invented in China nearly 3000 years ago, Go is played by approximately fifty million people, mostly in Asia. Exponentially more complex than chess, Go players use abstract strategy to place stones on vacant intersections of a 19×19 board grid while attempting to surround an opponent’s territory.

by: Daniel Milnor

In 1997 IBM’s computer Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov, but due to the complexity of Go it was thought that cutting-edge AI technology was decades away from solving the game. Then in 2016 the impossible happened. A Google Deep mind program titled “AlphaGo” defeated South Korean champion Lee Sedol, a ranked 9-dan player, four games to one. During game two the machine played a move beyond human comprehension. The move proved that AI learning, and machine learning, was different from anything humans possessed. But during game four Sedol played what is now referred to as the“God’s touch move,” surprising both man and machine and leading Sedol to victory. This move proved that humans still possess the capability to transcend mental barriers and capacities that even machines have difficulty with.

But why does this matter? It matters because this same technology is now being used in numerous ways throughout or world and our daily lives. This technology is impacting our social networks, science, medicine and the future of marketing. In 2017 another milestone was passed as AlphaGo was replace and defeated by AlphaGo Zero an updated system which instantly became the best Go player in the world. (Arguably.) To learn more about this story, visit DeepMind.com.

Why we like this

ELEMENT: STRATEGY

Data science, technology, sport and breakthrough moments that change the course of human history. Humanity vs machine, with a very uncertain outcome, all make for riveting drama. And with advances happening so quickly there is no telling what even the near future holds.

Bio

Daniel Milnor once worked as both a fragrance model and a hot tub installer but is better known as a reformed-journalist, photographer and writer who is now, once again, performing these duties in his role as “Creative Evangelist,” for Blurb Inc., the world’s premiere indie publishing platform. He lives in New Mexico and owes most of his success to several “Shifter-types” who were kind enough to help him along. He is a husband, brother, son and uncle four times over. He is partially fluent in Spanish, can kinda still ride a skateboard and just picked up a guitar for the first time ever, something he now regrets not doing decades ago. A compulsive journal-keeper, he believes in the power of print, taking one’s time, slowing down, reading paper books, casting off the shackles of social media and talking to one’s neighbors if you really want to know what is going on in the world. He is disappointed in the power of celebrity, American architecture, for the most part, and how mobile phones have reduced most of the population to complete and total zombies. He dreams of downsizing, writing something memorable and living somewhere in Latin America.

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