Google program beats man at Chinese chess game

(CNN) – In a showdown of man versus machine the machine is winning.  A computer program built by Google now leads in a best of five contest against the world’s top player in a very complex board game.

Believe it or not, these are the final nail-biting moments of an historic contest between man and machine.

Korean champion Lee Sedol emerges in defeat, after losing the second battle in a row against a google super-computer called Alphago.

He says he’s in shock, “I’m just speechless.  Looking at today’s game, it was a complete defeat,” he says.  “Alphago played a perfect game.”

The two opponents have been facing off at Go. Many describe it as the world’s most complicated strategy war game.

Go players like Andrew Okum, argue that to be good at this 2500 year old game, you need to have intuition, a characteristic that we used to think was uniquely human.

“We like to think of this as a very human thing.  And we really enjoy playing a game that even today with computers being so strong, they couldn’t play.  Up to a few months ago, they could pick out a terrorist’s face in a crowd or land an airplane when it was in trouble but it couldn’t beat us at this.  Now they can. That’s sad. We don’t like that,” said Andrew Okum.

Nearly twenty years ago, a computer called deep blue beat the world grandmaster Gary Kasparov at chess.  Go is much more complicated.

Last October, Alphago beat Europe’s Go champion in five straight games.  In the five months since then Alphago has gotten much, much better at the game.

Says Korean Go master Kwon Kap-Yong, “It’s scary how quickly it upgraded,” he tells me. “It feels like it’s the terminator.”

Jokes aside, the super-computer’s designers insist Alphago is a step towards something much bigger in computer science.

Artificial intelligence, or something that continues to capture popular imagination.

Copyright CNN 2016

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