Google's AlphaGo clinches
series win over Chinese Go master
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[May 25, 2017]
By Cate Cadell
(Reuters) - Google's artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo, beat
Chinese Go master Ke Jie for a second time on Thursday, taking an
unassailable 2-0 lead in a best of three series meant to test the limits
of computers in taking on humans at complex tasks.
Go is a highly complex board game dating back thousands of years that
involves two contestants placing black and white stones on a grid. It is
popular in Asian countries and most top-ranked players hail from China,
Japan and South Korea.
Ke, the 19-year-old world no. 1, was visibly frustrated, tugging his
hair and laying his head on the table during the final moments of the
second match against AlphaGo on Thursday.
"Last year, I think the way AlphaGo played was pretty close to human
beings, but today I think he plays like the God of Go," Ke said after
the game. Following his defeat in the first match of the series on
Tuesday, Ke said he would not compete against AI again due to its rapid
The victory over the world's top player - which many thought would take
decades to achieve - comes after the AI program from Google's DeepMind
unit bested a South Korean Go professional in a similar exhibition match
This week's event, held in the eastern river town of Wuzhen and attended
by local officials and Google parent Alphabet's <GOOGL.O> top brass, is
a feather in the cap for the U.S. search giant as it woos Beijing for
better market access.
Since AlphaGo's defeat of Lee Sedol just over a year ago, AI has shot up
the agenda for China's top policy makers, making its first appearance
this year in Premier Li Keqiang's annual work report, a document laying
out China's top policy priorities.
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Chinese Go player Ke Jie competes against Google's artificial
intelligence program AlphaGo during their second match at the Future
of Go Summit in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China May 25, 2017.
For Google, AlphaGo's triumph in China also offers a marketing boost in a
country where its main services have long been blocked, and local rivals to its
search engine, email and video sites have thrived since it largely exited China
Despite Mandarin and English livestreams of the match being broadcast on Youtube,
which is blocked in China, the match was widely reported via local news outlets
and social media.
Ke, who has some 3.5 million followers on Twitter-like service Weibo, shared
details of the Google event and his trip to Wuzhen, which is also the seat of
the country's top annual government internet conference.
"Ke Jie pushed AlphaGo right to the limit," tweeted DeepMind founder Demis
Hassabis following the match. Twitter Inc <TWTR.N> is also blocked in China.
(Reporting by Cate Cadell; Additional reporting by Xihao Jiang; Editing by Adam
Jourdan and Simon Cameron-Moore)
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