Date
16 January 2017
European Go player Fan Hui (left) is shown in a Go contest against Google's DeepMind. The AI system has beaten another top-ranked player, showing it has achieved super-human capabilities. Photo: Internet
European Go player Fan Hui (left) is shown in a Go contest against Google's DeepMind. The AI system has beaten another top-ranked player, showing it has achieved super-human capabilities. Photo: Internet

Google AI system attains super-human level

Google’s artificial intelligence system has shown super-human status in beating a top-ranked player of the Go board game.

DeepMind achieved the feat in a televised match of the 2,500-year-old strategy contest in South Korea, Bloomberg reports.

The five-match tournament pits DeepMind against Lee Sedol, the top-ranked Go player of the past decade.

It’s part of Google’s campaign to test the capabilities of software developed by its eponymous London-based AI subsidiary.

“It’ll never get tired and it’ll never get intimidated,” said DeepMind co-founder Demis Hassabis.

“These are the main advantages.”

The breakthrough astounded experts, who have previously thought it would be five to 10 years before AI would be good enough to play Go and positions Google as a leader in the next generation of super-smart computing.

The search giant already uses AI in a range of products — automatically writing e-mails, recommending YouTube videos, helping cars drive themselves.

The next wave of AI technologies will use techniques akin to those developed by DeepMind, although the company hasn’t yet disclosed any particular products.

“Healthcare is one of the main things we’re looking at next,” Hassabis said.

“The system and techniques that we’re using for AlphaGo should be useful for anywhere, any kind of problem where there’s lots and lots of data and you’re trying to understand the structure in that data and make some kind of decision.”

DeepMind, part of Mountain View, California-based Alphabet Inc., revealed its software, called AlphaGo, in January in a paper published in science journal Nature.

AlphaGo had attained expert human-level performance at Go, and had beaten European professional Go player Fan Hui in a match held in the company’s London offices in October.

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