Google’s AI Is About to Battle a Go Champion—But This Is No Game

Today, inside the towering glass and steel Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Seoul, South Korea, Google will put the future of artificial intelligence to the test. At one o’clock in the afternoon local time, a digital Google creation will challenge one of the world’s top players at the game of Go, the ancient Eastern pastime that’s often compared to chess—though it’s exponentially more complex. This Google machine is called AlphaGo, and to win, it must mimic not just the analytical skills of a human, but at least a bit of human intuition.Over the years, machines have topped the best humans as checkers, chess, Othello, Scrabble, Jeopardy!, and so many other contests of human intellect. But they haven’t beat the very best at Go. As Google likes to point out, there…


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