Credit: This story was first seen on the Independent.
It was once considered one of the last great challenges between man and machine but now, for the first time, an artificial intelligence (AI) programme has beaten a professional player of one of the world’s hardest board games, the Independent reports.
The machine – called AlphaGo – defeated European champion Fan Hui at the ancient Chinese game of Go, 10 years before the victory was anticipated by experts.
The AI’s victory has been likened to the defeat of reigning world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1197 by IBM’s Deep Blue computer – a milestone many experts considered to be a key moment in the advancement of artificial intelligence.
It was the first time a computer had won against a professional Go player on a full-sized board without any handicaps or advantages given to either side, said Demis Hassabis of Google DeepMind, the AI arm of Google in London, who helped to write the program.
“Go is the probably the most complex board game humans play. There are more configurations of the board than there are atoms in the Universe. In the end, AlphaGo won 5-nil and it was perhaps stronger than even we were expecting,” Mr Hassabis said.
“AlphaGo discovered for itself many of the patterns and moves needed to play Go. Go is considered to be the pinnacle of AI research – the holy grail. For us, it was an irresistible challenge,” he said.
Jon Diamond, president of the British Go Association, said: “Before this match the best computer programs were not as good as the top amateur players and I was still expecting that it would be at least five or 10 years before a program would be able to beat the top human players; now it looks like this may be imminent.”