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DeepMind’s AlphaGo Beats World Go Champion Ke Jie

Update: On May 25, AlphaGo beat Ke Jie again in the second of two games. Things are looking bad for human Go players. 

DeepMind’s AI AlphaGo has beaten the Chinese world champion Ke Jie in the strategic board game Go, winning the first of three planned games.

The algorithm, which makes use of 12 layers of neural networks, sent waves through the Go-playing community last year after defeating high-ranking player Lee Sedol in a five-game match. That shocked many AI experts who had predicted the game was too complex to be effectively mastered by an AI.

Now, at the Future of Go summit in Wuzhen, eastern China, the latest version of the system built by the London-based Alphabet subsidiary squared off with Ke.  The 19-year-old had previously said he would always prevail over a “cold machine”, and was visibly bemused after losing the game by half a point.

Ke went on to dub AlphaGo the “God of Go” after the match, adding that he would never again accept to undergo the “horrible experience” of challenging DeepMind’s AI. He will still have to confront his tormentor in follow-up matches scheduled for Thursday and Saturday, though.

During the summit, DeepMind’s Go-playing algorithm will be tested in three different ways: besides playing against Ke, it will also take on a team of five elite players, and team up with a flesh and blood professional in a game against another AI-human duo.

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