Fan Hui makes a living by playing Go, a Chinese board game that dates back over 2,500 years with more moves possible than there are atoms in the universe.
The objective of Go is simple: to surround the other player’s stones with your own, forcing them to sacrifice their stone.
Fan is pretty good, having been crowned European champion on several occasions.
But last October, the Chinese-born Frenchman sat down to play an artificially intelligent computer created by DeepMind, a Google-owned startup in London. He lost the match to the AI agent named AlphaGo 5-0.
Following the thrashing, Fan has been practicing. But not against other humans.
He’s been training in DeepMind’s office in King’s Cross, according to a Telegraph article that details the journey DeepMind has been on with its AlphaGo computer, from taking on Fan to taking on the best Go player in the world, Lee Se-Dol.
Training against AlphaGo has reportedly helped Fan to boost his global ranking from 600 to 300 in the last three months.
DeepMind cofounder and AlphaGo creator Demis Hassabis told The Telegraph: “He just won the European pro Go championship in February, and he won with a full score; he beat absolutely everybody.”
Fan is on the best form of his life and he attributes it to AlphaGo, The Telegraph reports.