Ready, Set: AI Challenges Human Champion at World’s Hardest Game

On March 9, humankind will play a very important game. That’s the day Lee Sedol, world champion Go player, will square off against an artificial intelligence opponent in a series of matches in Seoul, South Korea. It’s a heavyweight showdown that’s being compared to the famous 1997 matchup between chess champion Garry Kasparov and IBM’s supercomputer Deep Blue. That competition — which Deep Blue won three games to two (with one draw) — was a seismic event in the history of technology. It suggested that supercomputers had surpassed humans in one of our greatest intellectual pursuits. In many ways, the upcoming Go match is even more significant. For one thing, Go — the 2,500-year-old Chinese strategy game played with colored stones — is more mathematically complex than chess, by several…


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