Where Computers Defeat Humans, and Where They Can’t

Op-Ed Contributors By ANDREW McAFEE and ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON March 16, 2016 ALPHAGO, the artificial intelligence system built by the Google subsidiary DeepMind, has just defeated the human champion, Lee Se-dol, four games to one in the tournament of the strategy game of Go. Why does this matter? After all, computers surpassed humans in chess in 1997, when IBM’s Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov. So why is AlphaGo’s victory significant? Like chess, Go is a hugely complex strategy game in which chance and luck play no role. Two players take turns placing white or black stones on a 19-by-19 grid; when stones are surrounded on all four sides by those of the other color they are removed from the board, and the player with more stones remaining at the game’s end wins. Unlike the case…


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