Machine trains self to beat humans at world's hardest game
The ancient strategy game of Go may have met its ultimate match in Google’s AI.
The brain-taxing board game is a little like an Eastern version of chess, except many times more complex. It has millions of devotees in China, Korea and Japan. Many of them tuned in today to watch an artificial intelligence computer built by Google’s DeepMind beat the world champion, Lee Sedol, in the first of a five-game contest.
Duels like these don’t come often. That’s because the vast majority of human-versus-machine contests are rarely worth watching at all. Either the humans would so obviously win—try getting a machine to write jokes—or we’d so obviously lose. You wouldn’t run a race against a car, or try to out-hammer a steam drill.
But every once in awhile, a technological moment comes when the man-machine match-up gives us a fight worth watching. (Just ask John Henry.) DeepMind vs. Lee Sedol is one of those moments. But as the video above shows, the stakes of this week’s historic battle may not be what you think.
More Like This
Can We Teach Cars to Drive? It's an Uphill Challenge.
Autonomous vehicle technology has gotten better, but how close are we really to a time when a robot chauffeur will be able to safely drive us?
The Moon’s Lasting Pull
Our moon has winked from the heavens as a symbol and anchor, reminding us not only the cycle of life, but also of danger and death. Scientists have brought the moon into sharper focus, and astronauts have left the first footprints there. But will we ever be able to explain its lasting, mesmerizing power of attraction?
Space Law: The Next Generation
An international treaty laid out the basics of space law in 1967. But without a lot of case history to go on, lawyers today have looked to maritime law and Arctic exploration as they lay the groundwork for how space will be governed.
How NASA Sold Us a Trip to the Moon
To launch its lunar landing project, NASA had to find ways to convince the American public that the costly, audacious pursuit was essential. One lasting result: Tang breakfast drink.