All systems Go! But what is it like to play against a computer?

The artificial intelligence program that thrashed a human player at the complex strategy game Go used some distinctly non-human techniques. But that’s not to say it is without ‘imagination’, Belinda Smith reports. Machines have bettered man at checkers and chess … and now Go appears conquered.Credit: Flickr/Reilly Butler Compared to the ancient Chinese strategy game Go, chess is easy. That is why engineers at Google’s artificial intelligence arm DeepMind are so excited that their artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo, has beaten a human professional at the game. “Go is considered to be the pinnacle of game AI research,” artificial intelligence researcher Demis Hassabis of Google DeepMind, the British company that developed the AlphaGo program, said. “It’s been the grand challenge, or holy grail if you like, of AI since Deep Blue…


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