South Korean Baduk Champion Loses 1st Match to Google Artificial Intelligence

Michael Song, March 9, 2016, 7:38 a.m.

Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) program AlphaGo beat top-class South Korean Go player Lee Se-dol in the ancient board game Go Wednesday as the self-learning machine stunned the world by taking the lead at the historic five-match man-versus-computer tournament.

In a landmark showdown held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul, AlphaGo, the AI designed by Google’s London-based firm DeepMind, beat Lee by resignation in 186 moves after playing nearly three and a half hours.

Lee, a ninth-dan player who went pro at the age of 12, will play his second match against AlphaGo with a shot at revenge at the same venue on Thursday. The 33-year-old is also slated to face the human-like algorithm on Saturday and Sunday before wrapping up the tourney next Tuesday.

The tournament is scheduled to continue even after three wins by either side, as Google wants to give more data to AlphaGo, which already surprised the Go community after shutting out European Go champion and second-dan Fan Hui 5-0 last October.

Lee, who has won 47 Go events including 18 international trophies, said last month that he would win the tourney with a score of 5-0 or 4-1 in his favor, but just a day before the matchup the Go player stepped back by saying that those scores may not happen.


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