Machine has triumphed over man in the complicated board game Go.
The man in question, South Korean professional Lee Sedol, is one of the world’s top players but he proved no match for a computer.
Losing 3-0 on Saturday in a best of five contest in Seoul, Lee was consoled by Google subsidiary DeepMind which designed the AlphaGo programme.
“AlphaGo can compute tens of thousands of positions per second, but what’s really incredible is that Lee Sedol can compete with that just with the power of his mind and ingenuity and stretched AlphaGo to its limit in the last three games,” said Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis.
As for the result, he said:“To be honest we are a bit stunned and speechless”.
Hassabis earlier tweeted that AlphaGo’s victory was an “historic moment”.
#AlphaGo won game 3 and the match! Historic moment. In complete awe of Lee Sedol’s incredible genius, and proud of the amazing AlphaGo team!— Demis Hassabis (@demishassabis) 12 mars 2016
Google executives say that Go offers too many possible moves for a machine to win simply through brute-force calculations, unlike chess, in which IBM’s Deep Blue famously beat former world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.
The AlphaGo computer programme therefore sought to approximate human intuition in tackling the game, most popular in countries like China, South Korea and Japan, in which contestants move black and white stones on a square grid, with the aim of seizing the most territory.