Computer’s Go victory reminds us that we need to question our reliance on AI

The victory of a computer over one of the world’s strongest players of the game Go has been hailed by many as a landmark event in artificial intelligence. But why? After all, computers have beaten us at games before, most notably in 1997 when the computer Deep Blue triumphed over chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov. We can get a hint of why the Go victory is important, however, by looking at the difference between the companies behind these game-playing computers. Deep Blue was the product of IBM, which was back then largely a hardware company. But the software – AlphaGo – that beat Go player Lee Sedol was created by DeepMind, a branch of Google based in the UK specialising in machine learning. AlphaGo’s success wasn’t because of so-called “Moore’s law”,…


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