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Google Brain 1, Human Brain 0

March 9, 2016, 1:53 PM UTC
Professional 'Go' Player Lee Se-dol Set To Play Google's AlphaGo
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - MARCH 09: People watch a screen showing the live broadcast of the Google DeepMind Challenge Match on March 9, 2016 in Seoul, South Korea. Google's computer program AlphaGo defeated its human opponent, South Korean professional Go player Lee Se-Dol in the first game. (Photo by Kim Min-Hee-Pool/Getty Images)
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Chalk one up for the machine.

Google’s DeepMind AlphaGo AI brainiac defeated human Go champion Lee Se-dol on Wednesday in the first of five matches in Seoul, South Korea.

Go is an ancient Chinese board game that is seen as more difficult than chess for a computer to master because of the sheer number of options open at each step. Go is played on a 19-by-19 grid while a chess board is 8-by-8.

This win is not unprecedented. AlphaGo defeated European champion Fan Hui 5-0 in Europe in January

More: Google AI defeats World-class Go Player

That win, along with the victory of IBM’s (IBM) Deep Blue computer over chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov in 1997, show the scope of artificial intelligence, or machine learning. This technology enables computers to learn by ingesting a ton of information and from their own experience.

Google (GOOG) bought DeepMind Technologies, the British company behind this AI technology, two years ago.

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It’s not all fun and games. Smarter computers, capable of adjusting on the fly, will also find application in logistics and other business scenarios.

You can watch the whole Go game plus preliminaries in this video:


The prospect of “thinking” machines, excites many people, but sparks anxieties in others—you can insert your joke about welcoming our robot overlords here.

Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, tried to take the edge off, noting before the first Seoul game: “The winner here, no matter what happens, is humanity.”