Why this week’s man-versus-machine Go match doesn’t matter (and what does)

The subtleties of Go have long eluded computer domination, but that may be about to change. A last hurrah for humanity? Or the final triumph of our silicon overlords? One of those storylines will surely emerge over the next week at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul, where a computer will play a match against the world’s top human player in the ancient Chinese board game of Go. On one side of the board will sit Lee Sedol of South Korea, 33, who has dominated the Go world for more than a decade. On the other will be AlphaGo, age two, a neural network–based artificial intelligence from Google’s DeepMind subsidiary in London. The winner will receive $1 million, the largest prize in the history of Go. Both of the prepackaged…


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