A Google artificial intelligence program has beaten the European champion of the board game Go. The Chinese game is viewed as a much tougher challenge than chess for computers because there are many more ways a Go match can play out.
The tech company’s DeepMind division said its software had beaten its human rival five games to nil. One independent expert called it a breakthrough for AI with potentially far-reaching consequences. The achievement was announced to coincide with the publication of a paper, in the scientific journal Nature, detailing the techniques used. Earlier on Wednesday, Facebook’s chief executive had said its own AI projecthad been “getting close” to beating humans at Go. But the research he referred to indicated its software was ranked only as an “advanced amateur” and not a “professional level” player.
What is GO?
Go is thought to date back to ancient China, several thousand years ago. Using black-and-white stones on a grid, players gain the upper hand by surrounding their opponents pieces with their own. The rules are simpler than those of chess, but a player typically has a choice of 200 moves compared with about 20 in chess. There are more possible positions in Go than atoms in the universe, according to DeepMind’s team. It can be very difficult to determine who is winning, and many of the top human players rely on instinct. (BBC News,2016)