Human and machine may go head-to-head in a fight to finish battles, of the board game Go, this week.
Entering the band for mankind is the present world champion of the ancient Asian board game, the 33-year-old South Korean named Lee Se-dol. AlphaGo, an artificial intelligence program designed by Google subsidiary, DeepMind.
There will be a total of five matches, which all be on live stream on YouTube straight from Seoul, South Korea. The matches will be broadcasted at 1 p.m. local time in Seoul (4 a.m. GMT, 11 p.m. EST the day before, 8 p.m. PST) on March 9th, 10th, 12th, 13th and 15th. Each game can take around four to five hours to complete.
While DeepMind might seem comfortable in broadcasting the match up, Se-dol seems to be similarly self-assured. In a media conference, he explained,
I don’t think it will be a very close match. I believe it will be 5-0 [to me], or maybe 4-1. So the critical point for me will be to not lose one match.”
Last October 2015, AlphaGo was able to beat at the game 5-0, the three-time European Go champion, Fan Hui. This particular development, was the very first time that a computer program had defeated a professional Go player, announcing a new age of artificial intelligence.
For how many decades and even today, Go has been played in Asia and has more than 40 million players globally. The game works on a 19-by-19 grid. Two players move the white or black stones on the board to surround the opponent’s territory, in an aim to obtain as much territory as possible.
For decades, Go has been considered a “grand challenge” for artificial intelligence to beat. The hurdle for AI used to be the game of chess. However, compared to chess, Go contains a ludicrous amount of possible positions and patterns.