An artificial intelligence (AI) developed by an unknown entity has been annihilating some of the world’s best Go players online over the last few days and people are desperate to know who is behind it.
The AI, being referred to simply as “Master,” has played more than 50 games against top Go players and won every single one of them.
Go is a complex game that has been notoriously difficult for computers to crack because of the sheer number of potential moves. It is a two-player turn-based strategy game where each player puts down either black or white stones in an attempt to outmaneuver and surround the other player. It’s easy to pick up but takes years to master.
The games — being played on Tygem, an internet Go server owned by South Korean company TongYang Online — have caught the attention of Reddit users and a thread is calling on the AI’s creator to reveal themself or indeed themselves.
“This whole thing is just really cool,” wrote Reddit user Open_Thinker. “I hope we learn who the author(s) are soon.”
There is a small chance that “Master” is a highly competent human Go player but, as one Reddit user put it: “It seems highly unlikely that any known human player could amass that record.”
Reddit user “acceletr” said it would be “epic” if it turned out that “Master” was world Go champion Lee Sedol. Other users on the Reddit thread have questioned whether “Master” is a “1000-year-old Go master spirit” called “Sai” who appears in Japanese manga series Hikaru no Go.
Technology firms such as DeepMind, acquired by Google for £400 million in 2014, and Facebook have been tasking some of their brightest minds with creating AIs that can beat the world’s best human Go players.
Last year, DeepMind’s AlphaGo AI managed to defeat Sedol over a five game tournament. After the opening game, Demis Hassabis, the cofounder and CEO of DeepMind, said in a press statement: “What an incredibly exciting game. Lee Sedol is a formidable opponent, famed for his fighting style, and AlphaGo decided to go toe-to-toe with him, which made for a tense, close-fought game. We still have four games to go, so anything can still happen. Whatever the outcome, we feel this match is a testament to the power of human ingenuity.”
So a mysterious AI, ‘Master’, is trouncing top Go players online 50-0, likely superhuman, and no one knows who created it. How cyberpunk.
— gwern (@gwern) January 4, 2017