Google's AI Has Won Its First Match Against Go World Champion Lee Sedol

Google's AI Has Won Its First Match Against Go World Champion Lee Sedol

In the first of a series of matches, Google Deepmind's powerful artificial intelligence AlphaGo has beaten the world champion of Go, Lee Sedol. The match between Sedol and DeepMind -- in fact the first of five -- was broadcast live on YouTube beginning March 9. According to Google, it was a "close first game". AlphaGo won by resignation after 186 moves, in a game that "looked to be neck-and-neck for its entirety, filled with complex fighting on both sides," according to Google.

The overall winner of the five-game series will walk away with $US1 million. AlphaGo already beat the three-time European Go champion Fan Hui over the course of five matches, but Sedol is largely considered to be a much harder challenge, having dominated the world of Go for much of his professional career. Speaking after the game, Sedol explained:

I would like to express my respect to [the Deepmind] team for making such an amazing program like AlphaGo. I am surprised by this result. But I did enjoy the game and am looking forward to the next one.

The whole event is reminiscent of the 1996 chess match between chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov and IBM's Deep Blue computer. But the challenge for the AI is a harder one: There are a staggering 10700 possible board situations for Go, and just 1060 for chess.

Whether he can win this set of games remains to be seen -- but first impressions aren't positive for the human contender.

Image by Linh Nguyen



    I watched the video of it. Actually, I tried to watch the video of it but it was more boring than watching grass grow although some grasses do grow quite quickly, anyway I digress. The point is that it was slow, slow as hell and made it impossible to appreciate what was going on. I don't know what time limit they have in-between turns or if there is indeed a time limit but this game needs one and a very short one. 10 seconds would be ample.

      Just... no.

      I also watched part of the live feed, and found the commentary from the American 9-dan fascinating. There is so much thought that goes into each and every move - do you reinforce your existing shapes, or try to take new territory? Can you defend directly against the opponents threat, or do you need to build a ko threat elsewhere on the board? There are just so many possibilities that need careful consideration before each move.

      I mean, speed chess is a thing, but it's nowhere near the level of complexity of longer matches. Go is vastly more complicated than chess... These guys are thinking 30-40 moves ahead, and expecting them to play on a short timer is absurd.

        I have no clue what they're doing. Is it like connect 5?

          So... what you're saying is... you tuned in to possibly the most complicated game that you can play, with absolutely no idea about the game or how it is played, and expected to 'get it' straight away?

          There will definitely be a summary of the games at the end - maybe that would be more up your alley.

            The story had no explanation of the game. It just said the AI won. In the film some blokes were talking and occasionally put some white and black dots on a board. After 5 minutes my eyes glazed over and I lost interest. If it was faster, it would of held my interest a bit further. You seem to be upset by my comment. I think the average person would feel the same way as I do.

              I think the average person wouldn't watch a game of chess, having no idea of the rules of chess, and expect to understand what was going on. Why would this be any different?

              The point is that it was slow, slow as hell and made it impossible to appreciate what was going on.

              This just isn't true. Not understanding how the game is played is why you couldn't appreciate what was going on. I mean - I have never played go, but I spent maybe 20 minutes reading up on the basics before I started up the stream, and I found it very interesting.

                Yet you still haven't told me what's it about. Instead you give me reasons for why I was wrong with what I wrote. I even asked you if it was like connect but I didn't get an answer.

                  Thank you very much for that and wow, I like the way you did it. I didn't know someone could do that. Very impressed. Thanks again.

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