After beating the European champion in a game of Go earlier this year, AlphaGo, an artificial intelligence (AI) created by Google and DeepMind, has managed to defeat South Korean grandmaster Lee Se-Dol. The match, which took place in Seoul Wednesday, March 9, was streamed live on the Internet and was the first among five matches scheduled.
Se-Dol, who holds 18 international titles, was considered a more challenging opponent for AlphaGo. But according to a report by the BBC, Se-Dol was seen shaking his head and sighing, and despite seeming to have held the upper hand, was forced to admit defeat.
Popular in China, South Korea and Japan, Go is a 3,000-year-old board game involving two opponents moving black and white stones across a square grid. Known as baduk (surrounding game) in Korean, the game has each player looking to cover the board with as many of their pieces as possible. It is considered more complex than chess as the number of possible moves are greater — typically about 200 as opposed to 20 in chess — and requires the AI to study matches and play games to hone its skills.
"The ultimate aim is to use these general-purpose technologies and apply them to all sorts of important real world problems," said Demis Hassabis, chief executive and co-founder of DeepMind, which was acquired by Google in 2014 for upwards of $500 million.