28 June 2014

Wired: “The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win”

Many Go players see the game as the final bastion of human dominance over computers. This view, which tacitly accepts the existence of a battle of intellects between humans and machines, is deeply misguided. In fact, computers can’t “win” at anything, not until they can experience real joy in victory and sadness in defeat, a programming challenge that makes Go look like tic-tac-toe. Computer Go matches aren’t the brain’s last stand. Rather, they help show just how far machines have to go before achieving something akin to true human intelligence. Until that day comes, perhaps it’s best to view the Densei-sen as programmers do. “It is fun for me,” says Coulom, “but that’s all.”

Alan Levinovitz

Interesting article about the long and complicated challenge to build a computer algorithm to match and beat humans at playing Go. Due to its complexity, Go is the only deterministic game left where people still outmatch the computing speed of machines. The conclusion sums up my impression perfectly: the problem is not the processing power, but the lack of insight into how exactly the human mind works at solving the game. Without a comprehensive understanding of the brain and consciousness, it will be next to impossible to build human-level artificial intelligence.

A traditional Go gameboard
A traditional Go gameboard. Photo: Takashi Osato/WIRED

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