Computer beats human at Go
Computer beats human at Go A player places a black stone while his opponent waits to place a white one as they play Go, a game of strategy, in the Seattle Go Center, Tuesday, April 30, 2002. (AP Photo/Cheryl Hatch/Thinkstock)
Computer beats human at Go
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A computer program has beaten a human champion at the ancient Chinese board game Go, marking a significant advance for development of artificial intelligence.
The program had taught itself how to win, and its developers say its learning strategy may someday let computers help solve real-world problems like making medical diagnoses and pursuing scientific research.
The program and its victory are described in a paper released by the journal Nature.
Computers previously have surpassed humans for other games, including chess, checkers and backgammon. But among classic games, Go has long been viewed as the most challenging for artificial intelligence to master.
Go, which originated in China more than 2,500 years ago, involves two players who take turns putting markers on a checkerboard-like grid. The object is to surround more area on the board with the markers than one's opponent, as well as capturing the opponent's pieces by surrounding them.
While the rules are simple, playing it well is not. It's "probably the most complex game ever devised by humans," Dennis Hassabis of Google DeepMind in London, one of the study authors, told reporters.
The new program, AlphaGo, defeated the European champion in all five games of a match in October, the Nature paper reports.
In March, AlphaGo will face legendary player Lee Sedol in Seoul, South Korea, for a $1 million prize, Hassabis said.
Martin Mueller, a computing science professor at the University of Alberta in Canada who has worked on Go programs for 30 years but didn't participate in AlphaGo, said the new program "is really a big step up from everything else we've seen...It's a very, very impressive piece of work."

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What was key to the computer's success?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • karih-pla
    2/03/2016 - 09:43 a.m.

    Go, an ancient Chinese board game, was thought to be the most difficult game for the artificial intelligence of a computer to master. As of recently, however, a computer program named AlphaGo has proved its ability to beat a human champion in the game. This impressive program taught itself how to win the game, which provided an extreme advance in the study of artificial intelligence. Perhaps this program will give us information about how to further artificial intelligence in other programs, to the extent that a computer may be able to make medical diagnoses in the future.
    I believe this success in technology provides vital information that we can use to further our knowledge of artificial intelligence. I like the idea of computers being able to diagnose medical issues and diseases, as long as they are regulated properly. If humans are able to hold heaps of medical knowledge in our brains and be able to diagnose patients, a computer could do the same process more efficiently. Entering all possible side effects of a disease or illness into a database and teaching the computer how to match up side effects to possible illnesses would be effective and labor saving in the medical field.

  • jaredp-lam
    2/03/2016 - 09:46 a.m.

    It is truly interesting to see a computer teach itself the strategies of the game to win. Maybe some of those movies where the computers begin to take over the world are getting more realistic. Almost scary.

  • davidw1-lam
    2/03/2016 - 09:46 a.m.

    The computer had many advantages over the human. One of the first and most significant advantages is its ability to calculate new moves and the odds of winning with that move. A second advantage is that the computer has the ability to store billions of games and moves and, has, a library of a series of moves to victory. A final advantage is fear. The computer does not feel pressure, as it moves quickly. The computer, instead, places pressure on the human because of its accuracy and speed. Humans make mistakes under pressure, but computers are consistent. These traits are what makes Alpha-Go deadly on the field.

  • elijahe-lam
    2/03/2016 - 09:46 a.m.

    I think that this is a significant advance in technology, and perhaps that this will help enhance other things like medicine and our modern technology. But we have to be careful and not let this get into the wrong hands. If it can teach itself, it could teach itself to make weapons or things that could threaten our world.

  • brooklenr-lam
    2/03/2016 - 09:47 a.m.

    This could become really good in the future if all computers could be as smart as this one. It could maybe help scientist cure other illnesses that have not been cured yet.

  • holdeno-3-bar
    2/03/2016 - 12:07 p.m.

    The key to the computer's success was that it learned from its mistakes. When talking about the victory, the author says, "the program had taught itself how to win" (par. 2) Artificial intelligence teaches itself. It learns from past failures to make future efforts succeed. From observing and playing previous games, the computer created a strategy as to how to win. Without such learning, the computer would have lost.
    I enjoyed this article because it covered a strategic game. I would like to learn more about Go.

  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    2/03/2016 - 01:03 p.m.

    It doesn't surprise me that somebody lost to a computer because technology is improving so quickly that soon most if not all computers will be smarter than humans.

  • nathanb-lam
    2/03/2016 - 01:35 p.m.

    It's pretty cool that a computer is more intelligent than a human in some ways. Imagine what we can do in the future with this technology...

  • seana-lam
    2/03/2016 - 02:39 p.m.

    It's very fascinating that a computer has beaten a world champion at his own game. I feel like artificial intelligence is not too far off. Maybe that's not a good thing.

  • mason-str
    2/05/2016 - 10:25 a.m.

    He made a checkmate.

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