Google's AlphaGo artificial intelligence engine has defeated the world number one Go player in the latest example of AI's growing prowess.
AlphaGo recently beat the world number five Go player, which was seen as a remarkable achivement as Go is one of the most complex games to learn. For example, chess offers 400 possible moves after the first two, but Go offers 130,000, making it very difficult for an AI to perform the calculations and match a human opponent.
However, after the win in January a second test for AlphaGo was set up against world champion Lee Sedol. AlphaGo came out on top in the first of five matches, although it was considered a close game.
"I was very surprised because I did not think that I would lose the game. A mistake I made at the very beginning lasted until the very last," said Sedol, according to a report in The Guardian. He conceded that AlphaGo played a very good game tactically.
Demis Hassabis, founder and CEO of DeepMind, was full of praise for Sedol before the start of the match, but very pleased with the win for artificial intelligence.
#AlphaGo WINS!!!! We landed it on the moon. So proud of the team!! Respect to the amazing Lee Sedol too— Demis Hassabis (@demishassabis) March 9, 2016
Google has provided a short write up of its victory, allowing some praise for the human. "AlphaGo takes the first game against Lee Sedol. They were neck-and-neck for its entirety in a game filled with complex fighting," said the firm in a Google Asia Pacific blog post.
"Lee Sedol made very aggressive moves but AlphaGo did not back down from the fight. AlphaGo took almost all of its time compared to Lee Sedol who had almost 30 minutes left on the clock."
Winning a game of Go may not seem a huge development in the IT world, but it underlines just how sophisticated such systems are becoming.
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