Google’s AlphaGo beats Chinese world champion in ancient game

Global Business

Google's AlphaGo beats Chinese world champion Ke Jie in ancient game

The race to develop the perfect artificial intelligence program has passed another milestone.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough reports.

Google's AlphaGo beats Chinese world champion Ke Jie in ancient game

The race to develop the perfect artificial intelligence program has passed another milestone. CGTN's Owen Fairclough reports.

For the second time, a Google algorithm has beaten a world champion in Go —an ancient Chinese game similar to chess.

But the tech giant doesn’t think the old grey matter is obsolete just yet.

He’s only 19, but Ke Jie is Go’s world champion – a grand master in a Chinese game that’s been played for thousands of years.

But the prodigy has been humbled by Google’s AlphaGo program. He’s been beaten twice in a best of three games, though he remained gracious in defeat.

“The first time we played, I thought it played a lot like a human. Now I feel like his game is more and more like the ‘Go god’. Really, it is brilliant,” Ke told the Future of Go Summit in Wuzhen, China.

This is the second time AlphaGo has bested the best—last year humbling 18-time world champion, South Korea’s Lee Sedol, though at least he had the satisfaction of winning once in the five-match series.

Go is hugely popular across Asia. You play by placing white or black counters along gridlines. You score points by surrounding and trapping your opponent’s counters.

It’s easy to beat a beginner like me. But Developing an algorithm with the ability to outthink the world’s best is a big feather in Google’s cap with huge commercial opportunities.

Google is racing against Silicon Valley rivals to perfect artificial intelligence programs that can do everything from drive our cars to making a decent espresso.

And if you’re worried about machines taking over, Google’s parent company thinks there are opportunities rather than rivalries.

“It’s A historical moment for China and for the world. If you think of it as more than that, you think of it as the beginning of human and computer intelligence solving the greatest problems we have ahead of us, that’s a great day,” Eric Schmidt, the Chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, said.

For Ke Jie, there’s a chance to restore some pride when he’s due to face off for the third time against AlphaGo on Saturday.


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