Go champion says machine is not superior to man South Korean professional Go player Lee Sedol, right, watches as Google DeepMind's lead programmer Aja Huang, left, puts the Google's artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo's first stone during the final match of the Google DeepMind Challenge Match in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Go champion says machine is not superior to man
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Game not over? Human Go champion Lee Sedol says Google's Go-playing program AlphaGo is not yet superior to humans, despite its victory in a match that ended March 15.
 
The week-long showdown between the South Korean Go grandmaster and Google DeepMind's artificial intelligence program showed the computer software has mastered a major challenge for artificial intelligence.
 
"I don't necessarily think AlphaGo is superior to me. I believe that there is still more a human being could do to play against artificial intelligence," Lee said after the nearly five-hour-long final game.
 
AlphaGo had the upper hand in terms of its lack of vulnerability to emotion and fatigue, two crucial aspects in the intense brain game.
 
"When it comes to psychological factors and strong concentration power, humans cannot be a match," Lee said.
 
But he added, "I don't think my defeat this time is a loss for humanity. It clearly shows my weaknesses, but not the weakness of all humanity."
 
He expressed deep regret for the loss and thanked his fans for their support, saying he enjoyed all five matches. He was beaten in four.
 
Lee, 33, has made his living playing Go since he was 12 and is famous in South Korea even among people who do not play the game. The entire country was rooting for him to win.
 
The series was intensely watched across Asia. The human-versus-machine battle hogged headlines. It even eclipsed reports of North Korean threats of a pre-emptive strike on the South.
 
The final game was too close to call until the very end. Experts said it was the best of the five games in that Lee was in top form and AlphaGo made few mistakes. Lee resigned about five hours into the game.
 
The final match was broadcast live on three major TV networks in South Korea and on big TV screens in downtown Seoul.
 
Google estimated that 60 million people in China, where Go is a popular pastime, watched the first match.
 
Before AlphaGo's victory, the ancient Chinese board game was seen as too complex for computers to master. Go fans across Asia were astonished when Lee, one of the world's best Go players, lost the first three matches.
 
Lee's win over AlphaGo in the fourth match showed the machine was not infallible. Afterward, Lee said AlphaGo's handling of surprise moves was weak. The program also played less well with a black stone, which plays first and has to claim a larger territory than its opponent to win.
 
Choosing not to exploit that weakness, Lee opted for a black stone in the last match.
 
Go players take turns placing the black and white stones on 361 grid intersections on a nearly square board. Stones can be captured when they are surrounded by those of their opponent.
 
To take control of territory, players surround vacant areas with their stones. The game continues until both sides agree there are no more places to put stones, or until one side decides to quit.
 
Google officials say the company wants to apply technologies used in AlphaGo in other areas, such as smartphone assistants, and ultimately to help scientists solve real-world problems.
 
As for Go, other top players are bracing themselves.
 
Chinese world Go champion Ke Jie said it was just a matter of time before top Go players like himself would be overtaken by artificial intelligence.
 
"It is very hard for Go players at my level to improve even a little bit, whereas AlphaGo has hundreds of computers to help it improve and can play hundreds of practice matches a day," Ke said.
 
"It does not seem like a good thing for we professional Go players, but the match played a very good role in promoting Go," Ke said.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How could a machine make mistakes?
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COMMENTS (12)
  • dontael1-pay
    3/28/2016 - 08:06 a.m.

    Machines are programmed to handle certain situations in certain ways. No machine can be programmed to think on the spot and come up with an improvised game plan on the spot. This may make the machines prone to mistakes.

  • ivannac2-pay
    3/28/2016 - 08:08 a.m.

    Machines, such as computers, make mistakes. But those mistakes are mostly caused by humans. Machines are programmed by people and people make mistakes. So the way machines can make a mistake is by human mistake.

  • tiaraf1-pay
    3/28/2016 - 08:10 a.m.

    Well machines aren't perfect. They were made by man there has to be a flaw but the computer could simply over calculate the move that they think their opponent is going to make. Even though the computer has some help from other computers to get the information that they need.

  • justinl2-pay
    3/28/2016 - 08:28 a.m.

    Many people seem to think the power of computer technology is surpassing us as human beings. However many people who actually study in computer technology seem to deny the fact that technology is superior.

  • jamies-pay
    3/28/2016 - 09:08 a.m.

    Honestly it is incredible that humans have built computers and their intelligence to be so smart that they are even able to outmatch a world champion in a majority of matches. Despite what Lee said about humans being smarter than artificial intelligence, it was very obvious that he was outmatched by the computer.

  • thomersons1-pay
    3/28/2016 - 10:21 a.m.

    A machine makes mistakes also even though we find it superior until they start msking us I deny

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    3/28/2016 - 07:30 p.m.

    The Go champion might have not liked the machine that had beaten him in Go which he would say that a machine is not superior to man because it wouldn't be great on what it would be doing to be beating the Go champion. The people might have not like the machine to be used on to beating the Go champion which is famous in South Korea which people would be seeing about the machine beating the world champion. The Go champion might have not liked the machine to be beating him in Go which he had been lucky that he had been able to beat the machine in the final match. People might have been working on a robot that would be able to beat famous people in beating them by playing Go or doing something else that a robot can be able to do.
    Critical Thinking Question: How could a machine make mistakes?
    Answer: I know that a machine can make mistakes by not doing something very right which would be able to make mistakes on something on what it is doing.

  • jacksonm-2-bar
    3/30/2016 - 07:09 p.m.

    Machines can make mistakes because their program is to do one thing and one thing only. If they're faced with another test they will not know how to execute the task and most likely fail.

    I thought this article was interesting to me because I have always wondered if machines were perfect and now I know that they aren't because they're not programmed to do everything.

  • holdeno-3-bar
    3/31/2016 - 02:08 p.m.

    A machine can make mistakes if it is not programmed correctly. When talking about the Go engine AlphaGo, Lee Sedol said that "AlphaGo's handling of surprise moves was weak" (par. 14) Artificial intelligence, as of right now, can only respond to moves based on the pattern recognition software in its code. Therefore, if a move is played that the machine does not know how to respond to, it could make a mistake.
    I was surprised by this article because it shows how far artificial intelligence has progressed.

  • briannec-ste
    4/30/2016 - 02:53 p.m.

    I think it is cool when a computer gets beat by a person, it shows that sometimes people in a room are smarter than a computer in someone's hand.

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