On Saturday, Chinese Go master Ke Jie lost his third and final match against a computer algorithm, proving what we all have suspected for a long time — humanity is doomed.
Previously, AlphaGo, an artificial intelligence program developed by DeepMind and owned by Google, defeated the best Go players that Europe and Korea had to offer. That left 19-year-old Ke Jie, the world’s top player, as mankind’s last hope against the machines.
In a series of three games last week in the showpiece watertown of Wuzhen, AlphaGo beat its human counterpart each time in the complex strategy game that was birthed in China some 2,500 years ago. Go, or weiqi (围棋) in Chinese, is a game of possibility, with an incomputable number of moves for players to make, meaning that it relies on human intelligence, strategy and intuition which previously computers had been unable to match when playing against the world’s top players — but not anymore.
Following its win, London-based DeepMind has decided that mankind no longer offers any sort of challenge to AlphaGo, retiring the AI from competition and saying that it will move on to future projects like “finding new cures for diseases, dramatically reducing energy consumption, or inventing revolutionary new materials” — all of which do sound somewhat more important than continuing to kick humanity’s ass at a board game.
Perhaps the most interesting revelation about last week’s matches was Chinese authorities desire to block them from being streamed live inside the country, apparently as a way of snubbing Google, which doesn’t seem to bode well for the company’s possibilities of making a comeback in China any time soon.
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