I'm not sure how many of you are aware of the old Chinese game "Go", and of the current Bo5 match going on between Google's deep learning AI machine AlphaGo versus the world's champion, Lee Sedol hailing from South Korea.
Late last year, AlphaGo was able to knock off Europe's champion 5 to nil. So what's the big deal this time around?
Simply put, the level of competition (against AlphaGo). Europe's champion, Fan Hui, is a level 2-dan player. Lee Sedol is 9-dan. The statistical probability of a 9-dan player beating a 2-dan player is over 95%.
Last night, the first game was played, with AlphaGo taking the early lead 1-0. This marks an amazing point of progress for AI, and more specifically, deep learning capabilities. The reason AI hasn't been able to handily beat professional Go players until very recently is simply because of the complexity of the game. The possible permutations in Go, exceeds that of the number of atoms in the universe (and for marked effect, by several orders of magnitude at that!). If you're a visual person, Go has about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible permutations. So it's pretty clear, that computers don't have the capability to win these games through brute-force computations. There simply doesn't exist the computational power to do so, especially considering that these matches are played with an allotted total time for each player, similar to how professional Chess matches are played.
Google's AlphaGo has gotten to this point by deep learning. It's able to view recordings of professional matches and learn. It can also not only learn from the mistakes and moves of its' own games played, but it also has the huge advantage that it can play against itself at speeds incomprehensible for us simple humans
Anyways, I thought some of you might find it interesting. I don't play Go much myself, and I don't have the time to watch the live streams of the matches. But I think it's fascinating because at some point, there may not exist a game out there that some form of AI can't beat us at.
Here's a few extras (including live stream link for those of you interested):
1st match recording:
List of live recordings and their schedules:
An awesome Wired article, detailing the history of Go and why (at that time, 2014) computers still can't beat humans:
An ArsTechnica article about this current matchup:
And an awesome and relevant xkcd image (although it now needs updating!):
Hope this has stirred up some interested. These are amazing times we live in!