Google's DeepMind AlphaGo artificial intelligence program is ready to take things to the next level in May, going up against the world's top GO player.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have come a long way in recent years, yet the ancient game of GO still poses a great challenge due to its incredible complexity. GO is often considered among the world's most difficult games, and the vast number of possibilities within the game makes it a real challenge for the algorithmic AI mind.
With AlphaGo, Google's DeepMind set out to conquer this territory and improve the AI capabilities by mastering GO. AlphaGo has already gone through a number of difficult GO challenges, and next month, it's all set to face top GO player Ke Jie.
AlphaGo vs Ke Jie
The upcoming match will consist of three games and will take place in Wuzhen, China. AlphaGo will go up against the Chinese player roughly one year after it managed to defeat South Korean GO player Lee Sedol, beating the key player 4 to 1.
GO is considered among the world's most difficult games because it involves an incredibly complex strategy, far more complex than chess even. During a game of GO, players take turns to place white or black pieces on a 19-by-19 line grid. The goal of the game is to surround the opponent's pieces, called "stones," to capture them and encircle empty spaces to claim them as territory.
Google DeepMind AlphaGo
AlphaGo has managed to establish itself as a force in this field due to its great ability to analyze the situation and learn from experience. In some cases, this has led the AI player to make some questionable moves that a human player wouldn't have made, but that proved successful nonetheless.
When AlphaGo managed to defeat Lee Sedol last year, some game analysts argued that the AI player would find it more difficult to beat Ke Jie. The upcoming match scheduled for next month should be quite exciting and help AlphaGo become even better, gaining more experience and practice.
In addition to facing Ke, AlphaGo will also play matches that entail both humans and AI programs. "Pair Go," for instance, will involve one professional GO player competing with another, with both human players having AlphaGo AI teammates and alternating moves.
Google AI Go Games And Challenges
In a company blog post announcing the upcoming games, DeepMind cofounder and CEO Demis Hassabis explains that this combination of human and AI teammates should allow for better learning.
"Instead of diminishing the game, as some feared, artificial intelligence (A.I.) has actually made human players stronger and more creative," says Hassabis. "It's humbling to see how pros and amateurs alike, who have pored over every detail of AlphaGo's innovative game play, have actually learned new knowledge and strategies about perhaps the most studied and contemplated game in history."
Furthermore, AlphaGo will also go up against "Team Go," a five-player team comprised of the top professional GO players in China. According to Hassabis, the human players will collaborate to "test AlphaGo's creativity and adaptability to their combined style."