Human Versus Machine

(Above: Google researchers in ‘AlphaGo.’ Source:YouTube screenshot)

Artificial intelligence’s progression has been measured, in part, by its ability to lick the smartest humans in the gaming realm.

In 1997, IBM’s Big Blue supercomputer took down chess Grand Master Garry Kasparov. In 2011, IBM’s Watson out-questioned Jeopardy! champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

Chess and Jeopardy!, however, are considered mere child’s play when compared to the ancient Chinese game of Go. Lower range estimates of legal moves are estimated 2 x 10170.  Go, it is said, has “more board configurations than there are atoms in the universe.”

Alphabet Inc.‘s Google DeepMind research team developed a program, AlphaGo, to prove its digital mettle. In March 2016, the world’s best Go players met in South Korea for The Google DeepMind Challenge Match, a best-of-five-game competition. The fight card included legendary Go master Lee Sedol and an untested AI adversary.

All the drama was captured in AlphaGo, a documentary that was nominated for “Best Sports Documentary” at the 2017 Critics Choice Documentary Awards. The film tells the AlphaGo “journey through the backstreets of Bordeaux, past the coding terminals of DeepMind in London, and, ultimately, to the seven-day tournament in Seoul… What can artificial intelligence reveal about a 3000-year-old game? What can it teach us about humanity?”

You can rent AlphaGo for $3.99 from Google Play and Google-owned YouTube. It is also scheduled for release soon on iTunes.

In the following TED talk, Ken Jennings talks about his Jeopardy! defeat to Watson:

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

View All Articles

Leave a Comment