After Two Wins, Google's AI Is One Game Away from Defeating Go World Champion

Go board 1 photo
Photo: Donar Reiskoffer via Wikimedia
Google is investing big in developing true AI that can perform most tasks better than any human on this planet, and we're likely going to see these electronic brains being deployed in all sorts of fields over the next few years.
But while one of its autonomous cars might have just been responsible for the first accident after the millions of miles they've put under their belts, another Google artificial intelligence entity is having a much better time. The AlphaGo, a robot devised to master the ancient game of Go, is currently locking horns with the world's champion named Lee Sedol.

The two are scheduled to fight for supremacy over the course of five games, with the first to reach three wins walking away with the title. And $1 million. But things are looking quite bleak for the humans, with Mr. Sedol already two down after losing the opening matches played on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The 33-year-old South Korean approached the two games with different strategies, but came out defeated on both occasions. If first he tried the aggression card, he played the second a lot more conservatively, but he was still forced to admit defeat after 211 moves.

Korean Go commentator Yoo Changhyuk summed up the hostilities after the first two days in a press conference: "During the first match, Lee Sedol made difficult moves to agitate AlphaGo, but failed to do so. Today, he tried the opposite - he played safe and entered the endgame. While using his byM-yomi [extra time] periods, he made some mistakes, which I think caused the defeat."

Unless he pulls a miracle comeback, Lee Sedol is likely going to lose the competition, making Go the second game where humans have to take a backseat behind AI after chess. In the end, as Yoo Changhyuk said, it all comes down to the one thing that separates us from the machines: our ability to make mistakes. The next matches are scheduled for March 12, 13, and 15.

And that's precisely what all the companies developing autonomous vehicle solutions are trying to eliminate from traffic. No mistakes means no casualties, and that's something worth fighting for. It would appear that before the AIs take over the world and enslave us all, they will first save our lives.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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