AI program just gets stronger in Go showdown

Image: Go showdown
Go champion Lee Sedol, at right, studies the game board during a match against the AlphaGo AI program. Google DeepMind researcher Aja Huang, at left, made AlphaGo’s moves on the board. (Credit: Google DeepMind)

The second game of a million-dollar, man-vs.-machine Go showdown was a real nail-biter, but the outcome was a repeat of the first game: Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo artificial intelligence program vanquished Go champion Lee Sedol.

Today’s game in Seoul, South Korea, lasted almost four and a half hours. The battle went on so long that Sedol ran out of regulation time and eventually was forced to make each of his moves in a minute or less. AlphaGo racked up an unassailable lead in points, and Sedol resigned.

“Yesterday, I was surprised, but today, it’s more than that,” Sedol said afterward at a news conference. “I’m quite speechless.”

Sedol said that during the first game, AlphaGo may have made some questionable moves. In contrast, the program played a “near-perfect game” the second time around, he said.

DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis said AlphaGo’s playing style was more confident than it was the day before. “AlphaGo seemed to know what was happening,” he said.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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