In what is a milestone for both Google and the field of Artificial Intelligence, AlphaGo, a program developed by Google AI unit Deepmind has defeated the legendary Go player Lee-Se-dol. This is only the first of five matches in this historic series held in South Korea. AlphaGo has beaten human players before, however this is the first time a 9-dan professional Go player has taken on a computer.
“I was very surprised,” said Lee after the match. “I didn’t expect to lose. [But] I didn’t think AlphaGo would play the game in such a perfect manner.” DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis expressed “huge respect for Lee Se-dol and his amazing skills,” calling the game “hugely exciting” and “very tense.” Team lead David Silver said it was an “amazing game of Go that really pushed AlphaGo to its limits.”
Go is an ancient chinese board game and is considered one of the greatest challenges for an AI. Go requires a high level of intuition and evaluation which has caused problems for AI before. AlphaGo used a series of deep neural networks and machine learning.
“I don’t regret accepting this challenge,” said Lee. “I am in shock, I admit that, but what’s done is done. I enjoyed this game and look forward to the next. I think I failed on the opening layout so if I do a better job on the opening aspect I think I will be able to increase my probability of winning.”
With this first of four matches going to the AI, it remains to be seen if a better opening can result in a win for Lee.