Date
18 October 2017
South Korean pro Lee Sedol ponders his move. In the end, Lee fell, four matches to one, to AlphaGo, an AI program developed by Google. Photo: Reuters
South Korean pro Lee Sedol ponders his move. In the end, Lee fell, four matches to one, to AlphaGo, an AI program developed by Google. Photo: Reuters

And the winner of the smarts trophy is… a robot

Here’s to the geeks and the nerds and their creation — and shame about human intelligence.

In yet another proof of superior smarts, Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) program clobbered a human in the ancient board game Go, sweeping to a 4-1 victory in their five-match duel.

In fact, AlphaGo, developed by Google subsidiary DeepMind, did not need Tuesday’s win to clinch bragging rights to the tactical contest. It had wrapped up the series a day earlier.

But just in case anyone thought it was a fluke, the robot genius ensured the victory with a final-match thumping of South Korean pro Lee Sedol, Reuters reports.  

The program made history last year by becoming the first machine to beat a human pro player, but 33-year-old Lee, one of the world’s top players, was seen as a much more formidable opponent.

“I am disappointed that the matches are over, and also disappointed that I could not end the series on a high note,” Lee told reporters, thanking fans for their support and adding that he had wholeheartedly enjoyed the games.

“I think the humans still have a good chance,” he added.

Go, most popular in countries such as China, South Korea and Japan, involves two contestants moving black and white stones across a square grid, aiming to seize the most territory.

It is perfect for artificial intelligence research because there are simply too many moves for a machine to win by brute-force calculations, the route IBM’s Deep Blue used to famously beat former world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.

“It was just an incredible game,” DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis told reporters.

Until AlphaGo’s victory last year, experts had not expected an artificial intelligence program to beat a human professional for at least a decade.

The program’s developers overcame the hurdles it faced with a design that enabled it to learn on its own, hoping it would be able to approximate human intuition by studying old matches and using simulated games to hone itself.

Oh, well, there will always be someone smarter.

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CG/RA

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