Google’s AlphaGo AI beats human in first game of Go contest
Computer program played in perfect manner, says defeated pro player Lee Sedol
The world’s top Go player Lee Sedol (right) was defeated by AI computer programme AlphaGo, which was built by Google subsidiary DeepMind. Photograph: Yonhap/Reuters
Google’s AlphaGo computer program on Wednesday won the first of five matches against one of the world’s top players of a complex board game, Go, marking a dramatic advance for the field of artificial intelligence.
South Korean professional player Lee Sedol, the holder of 18 international titles, conceded defeat in a match broadcast live, with one YouTube stream drawing tens of thousands of spectators worldwide, while domestic television gave frequent updates.
“We landed on the moon,” Demis Hassabis, chief executive and co-founder of Google subsidiary DeepMind, which built AlphaGo, said in a tweet after the victory. AlphaGo had made history in October, by becoming the first computer program ever to beat a human professional player at the ancient Asian game, which many experts consider to be the most fiendishly complicated of its kind. But Lee (33), a much more challenging opponent, was considered a bigger hurdle for a machine to vanquish.
Lee expressed surprise at his loss. “I didn’t think AlphaGo would play the game in such a perfect manner,” he told reporters after the match. “I would like to express my respect to the programmers for making such an amazing program.”
Experts did not expect an artificial intelligence program to beat a human professional for at least a decade, until AlphaGo’s victory last year over player Fan Hui.