Unfamiliar with Go, we’ll it’s a (Japanese or Chinese) game that is sort of like a mix between checkers and the game Dots and Boxes, “Pigs in a Pen.” The game, Go is pretty simple, just surround an enemy’s piece and claim it; this can be done by having four or three pieces around an enemy piece depending on the board.
Despite the game being very simple; it’s actually extremely complex. There are many ways to play the game, and whole encyclopedias have been devoted to tracking all the possible moves; including the best moves. This is a major accomplishment in AI technology (via Google DeepMind) because chess is actually much simpler mathematically (as all moves in chess can be crunched out by computers). Thus the landmark fight between man and computer in regards to chess now seems like mere child’s play. However, Go is not as a simple game that a computer can just crunch out the numbers and get a play that allows it to win the game. Go actually has many more moves than what can be performed in chess, and even if the computer played the best moves from the beginning it doesn’t necessarily mean victory.
However, the AI was able to defeat Lee Se-dol, the Go top player, twice. What if the AI actually got to play the “The Divine Move,” during this match? To learn more about Go and The Divine Move we recommend watching Hikaru no Go an anime about a middle schooler who starts to play Go.
To read the next AlphaGo article go to Google’s AlphaGo Tackles on Starcraft.