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AlphaGo plays online

The AlphaGo whiz-bang Go-playing computer, which decisively beat Lee Sedol (one of the best players of our time) in a challenge match, has very recently played 60 online games against top players. I’ve read online that the human opponents were aware their opponent was AlphaGo, but I have no actual confirmation of that.  I understand these were blitz games, with each player having just 30 seconds per move. I think the time limitation is an advantage for the computer, but I only base that on how difficult I find it to play without ample thinking time. The score for these games was AlphaGo: 60 – Humans: 0. Ouch. Maybe the humans would have done better with more time, but then again maybe not.

Top professional Go players are an elite bunch who play the game so much better than the rest of us mere mortals. However, it looks like the computer is going to dominate the game in the future. This doesn’t much matter to amateurs who play the game for fun, like me. In my lifetime, I don’t expect to ever be able to beat even the weakest of pro players. I just want to improve my game over time and find ways to improve my strength. The situation does shake up the pro Go community though, if even the strongest of the elite group of players cannot beat the machine.

Here is a 20 minute review of one of the 60 games presented by Haijin Lee, a retired pro player. In this game, AlphaGo is playing Ke Jie. AlphaGo plays the black stones.

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