'AlphaGo' AI Scores Narrow Win Against Ke Jie, World's Top 'Go' Player

Today's game was one of three happening between AlphaGo and Ke Jie this week at the Google-hosted Future of Go Summit in Wuzhen, China.

Aside from three games against Ke Jie, Google's AlphaGo will also be paired with Gu Li in the game against Lian Xiao, who will also team up with AlphaGo in a double match.

A Google artificial intelligence program defeated a Chinese grand master at the ancient board game Go on Tuesday, a major feather in the cap for the firm's AI ambitions as it looks to woo Beijing to gain re-entry into the country.

Google's latest effort to thaw relations with China involves an artificial intelligence pow-wow - and a game of Go.

In January this year AlphaGo achieved the ranking of No. 2 when playing under the pseudonym "Master" took on and beat top ranked players, being undefeated in 60 games.

For now, though, skittish onlookers watching the next two matches between Ke and AlphaGo on Thursday and Saturday might do well to remember Geoff's reassurance: "This program will not lead to a dystopian future in which humanity is enslaved by killer robots".

AlphaGo made headlines a year ago after winning a five-match tournament against Lee Sedol, considered the world's best player of Go over the past decade. "I will never give up", Ke said.

Researchers at the university developed the first computer program to defeat the world's top checkers players, and the U of A was also involved with the software that dominated humans at chess. "AlphaGo is like a different player this year compared to last year".

Go players take turns putting white or black stones on a rectangular grid with 361 intersections, trying to capture territory and each other's pieces by surrounding them. This is particularly notable because Go is famously complex, and Ke Jie himself says that AlphaGo is becoming so advanced that it has gone from "humanlike" to being more "like a god" in the past year. He noted that the number of possible board states in Go is "more than the number of atoms in the universe". Go may not be the endgame, but it's a beguiling, engrossing context for these conversations to be held in. "Go is like a journey and what happens in the journey is more interesting than the result".

Players have said AlphaGo enjoys some advantages because it doesn't get exhausted or emotionally rattled, two critical aspects of the mentally intense game.

Although Reuters reports that Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google parent Alphabet, watched the match in person in China, The Times notes that "there was no obvious live video of the event" available to viewers on the Chinese mainland.