Google DeepMind’s AI will take on the best Go player in the world next month at a swanky five-star hotel in South Korea, Google announced on Monday.
The AlphaGo computer will play Go champion Lee Sedol five times over five days at the Four Seasons hotel in Seoul, South Korea.
The games will take place on the 9, 10, 12, 13, and 15 March.
Go is a board game for two players that is thought to have originated in China more than 2,500 years ago and has trillions of possible moves.
While computers can beat humans at chess and other games, looking ahead in Go is far more difficult for them because the number of possible moves is far greater. As such, creating a program capable of playing the game well has become something of a holy grail for AI researchers.
Demis Hassabis, CEO and cofounder of Google DeepMind, said in a statement: “Go is the most profound game that mankind has ever devised. The elegantly simple rules lead to beautiful complexity. Go is a game primarily about intuition and feel rather than brute calculation which is what makes it so hard for computers to play well.
“We are honoured and excited to be playing this challenge match against Lee Sedol, a true legend of the game, and whether we win or lose, we hope that the match will inspire new interest in Go from around the world.”
Sedol said: “This is the first time a computer has challenged a human pro to an even game, and I am privileged to be the one to play it. Regardless of the result, it will be a meaningful event in baduk (Go) history. I heard Google DeepMind’s AI is surprisingly strong and getting stronger, but I am confident that I can win, at least this time.”
A prize fund of $1 million (£700,000) is up for grabs. If DeepMind wins, then Google will donate the money UNICEF, STEM and Go charities.
Anyone wanting to stay at the Four Seasons for the duration of the Go match would have to pay in excess of £1,500, according to the hotel’s website. Fortunately, the games will also be broadcast live over Google DeepMind’s YouTube account, for people around the world to watch.
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