It wasn't even close.
After months of being billed as the match of the century, Google's artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo, scored a 4-1 rout of South Korean world Go champion Lee Sedol to officially win the best-of-five series tournament Tuesday, as reported by the New York Times.
Consider this another stripe for AlphaGo, which was able to prove how sophisticated Google's AI software really is, to the point where it could quite easily out-think a human master of the game.
"It made me question human creativity. When I saw AlphaGo's moves, I wondered whether the Go moves I have known were the right ones," Sedol said during a news conference following the loss Tuesday, as reported by the Times. "Its style was different, and it was such an unusual experience that it took time for me to adjust. AlphaGo made me realize that I must study Go more."
Sedol was especially awestruck at how the AI software program reacted to his moves in real-time.
"It remained unfazed psychologically and stayed focused," he said. "In that regard, I don't think humans can beat it, even though I hesitate to admit that AlphaGo is above humans in Go skills yet."
That's coming from a world champion with 18 international titles in Go, a game whose history dates back to ancient China and can be likened to a more intricate version of chess.
Leading up to the tournament, there were AI experts saying that even Google's computer program would need at least 10 more years of development before being able to beat a human world champion like Sedol. Obviously, this feat by AlphaGo more than dispelled that notion.
Perhaps those same experts should have given Google's AI company, DeepMind, more credit when it bolstered AlphaGo enough for it to score a 5-0 victory over European Go champ Fan Hui last October. That victory paved the way for the match with Sedol, who would prove to be almost as futile against Google's software, save for the one victory he was able to record in the fourth match.
The scary part of all this is Demis Hassabis, the CEO of DeepMind, said AlphaGo could even improve upon its performance, as its match with Sedol exposed some of the program's weaknesses.
More importantly, Hassabis told the Times that AlphaGo's algorithms could "one day can be used in all sorts of problems, from health care to science."
Google has already announced plans to donate its $1 million prize earnings from the match to Unicef and other charities.