Google's DeepMind is about to take on the world's number one Go player

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and Go player Ke JieDeepMindKe Jie (right) recreates an AlphaGo opening sequence for Google CEO Sundar Pichai (centre).

This time last year, Google’s DeepMind artificial intelligence division defeated champion player Lee Sedol in a game of Go.

Now DeepMind’s “AlphaGo” AI is facing an ever bigger challenge: taking on the world number one player, Ke Jie.

Sedol is considered a legend, but Ke Jie is currently ranked number one.

Ke Jie will take on his opponent in three games of classical Go during the “Future of Go Summit’ in China next month, according to a DeepMind blogpost.

The idea of the game, according to DeepMind cofounder Demis Hassabis, is to “push AlphaGo to (…perhaps even beyond!) its limits.” Hassabis wrote that Ke Jie is known for his “excellent reading and unshakeable confidence”, and that he plays with a “finely balanced style”.

At the time of Sedol’s defeat, DeepMind cofounder Mustafa Suleyman tweeted: “We made history! What an incredible moment!”

The summit is noteworthy in itself since DeepMind is collaborating with the Chinese government for the event.

This comes days after a Chinese official warned that Google would find it tough to bring its services to China if US president Donald Trump kept criticising the country. Currently most Google services are blocked in China.

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