What Google’s grand Go victory means: Technology is about to get a lot smarter

On Wednesday afternoon in Seoul, two players faced off in a game of Go – one of civilisation’s oldest board games. But this game was different to the billions played in the game’s 3,000-year history. For the first time ever, a computer program beat the world champion at the strategy game at which previously only humans excelled. Lee Se-dol, a 33-year-old South Korean legend of Go, has lost two of five matches against the AlphaGo program, built by the Google-owned British company DeepMind. The first 3.5 hour game left even first-time viewers, like me, dumbstruck by its swift outcome, with commentators calling it a “superb” game that would be studied for years to come.  AlphaGo won its second game the day after (a victory that left Se-dol, who had originally said it…


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