Artificial Intelligence is quickly starting to become a reality with every passing day. Google has taken the next step in making it a reality, with its AlphaGo AI defeating the world's top Go player in China.
Let The Games Begin
In the first game of a three-match series, AlphaGo defeated Ke Jie, China's top Go player. Go is a Chinese abstract strategy game, widely considered one of the most complex board games despite having a fairly simple rule set. Ke Jie, the 19-year-old competitor, is considered not only the top player in China, but the best player in the world.
The May 23 match was very close, with AlphaGo winning by only half a point. This was not only due to Ke Jie being the top player in the world, but also from the strategy AlphaGo employed. The AI didn't try to win in a dominating fashion, but calculated the method to ensure a victory.
As mentioned, this is the first of a three-match series between the AI and Ke Jie, with the second match on Thursday, May 25, and the third on Saturday, May 27. This is also part of the Future of Go Summit in Wuzhen, China. This summit was set up as a way to talk about the future of AI in the backdrop of multiple Go matches between AlphaGo and China's top Go players.
These won't be the last matches AlphaGo has this week either, with two stipulation matches scheduled to take place as well. The AI will also act as a teammate to two other professional Chinese Go players when they play each other on Friday, May 26. However, the craziest match of the week might be later that day, with AlphaGo taking on five professional players at once.
The Future Is Here
This isn't the first time the AlphaGo AI has gotten the spotlight for beating a top human Go player. Last year, it beat one Korea's top all-time players, Lee Se-dol, in a dominant 4-to-1 performance. The AI even prepped for the match, going on a 60-game win streak in online matches.
At a national level, this was a big win for American AI research. China has been steadily increasing its investments into AI research and development, quickly becoming the top competitor to America in the field. This was obvious when the streams of the match were cut off within China.
More importantly, this is representative of how quickly AI is developing to handle complex tasks, in some cases, better than humans. AI has been serving as the base for other programs, like the autonomous car driving projects companies like Google have been investing in. And that's just one example of what AI is quickly adapting to handle, which could raise questions about the human workforce sooner rather than later.