It took four matches, but a human has finally done what many experts first thought was a certainty, then fairly impossible, and now mind-boggling: world champion Lee Sedol has finally beaten Google’s AI software AlphaGo in the ancient Chinese strategy game Go. In the five-match scheduled event, the first three matches went to Google DeepMind division’s software; in the fourth match, the human world champion finally won.
The game itself has a nearly-infinite number of possible moves, and therefore relies on intuition and emotional state to help the Go master defeat his or her opponent. This lack of “feel” for the game is what had so many game players predicting an easy win for the human player. But the very first matchup showed something that gave the software a leg-up, and that was an inability to second-guess himself due to an early mistake. Both players in the first game made crucial early errors, but unlike the human player, AlphaGo couldn’t experience self-doubt or embarrassment at his own mistake, something that commentators attributed to the machine’s win.
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