Google to pit AI against world’s number one Go player

Android, Google, silicone valley

Google intend to pit their artificial intelligence against China’s best Go player in an attempt to test its capabilities.

The software will play a best-of-three match against Ke Jie, as part of games against human players in Wuzhen in late April.

The Google software has previously recorded a 4-1 victory against a top Go player from South Korea.

This previous victory was thought to be a shock, with many people voicing there surprise.

“A lot of AI researchers have been working on Go because it’s the most challenging board game we have,” said Calum Chace, author of Surviving AI.

“The conventional wisdom was that machines would ultimately triumph but it would take 10 years or so.

“The win was a big wake-up call for a lot of people, including many outside the AI community.”

The AlphaGo software was developed by British computer company DeepMind, which was taken over by Google in 2014.

Its defeat of Lee Se-dol in March 2016 is seen as a landmark moment, in the same vein as the Kasparov defeat in 1997.

Several of the moves AlphaGo made went against common thinking, however they ended up working out.

Many people in the Go world, did not consider Lee Se-dol to be the best in the world, meaning that the AI was not given the credit Google felt it deserved.

As such, the new competition against 19-year-old Mr Ke, who is considered the best player in the world, may well increase the praise given.

“We’ve been hard at work improving AlphaGo to become even more creative, and since playing Lee Se-dol, the program has continued to learn through self-play training,” a spokeswoman for DeepMind told the BBC.

“We intend to publish more scientific papers in the future, which will include further details of AlphaGo’s progress.”

“If it loses this match, a lot of people will be delighted to claim that Google and DeepMind has overpromised and that this is the kind of hype we always get with AI,” commented Mr Chace.

“But I wouldn’t have thought Google is taking a huge risk.

“[In recent months] it has been playing a lot of very, very good AlphaGo players online without disclosing it was an AI playing, and has won all of the games.

“Unless this Ke Jie is some magnitude better than Lee Se-dol, I would think they are confident of winning.” Go is thought to date back to several thousand years ago in China.