Thursday, January 28, 2016

Google's AI vs. Korea's top Baduk player, coming this March

It looks like Google will be bringing their A-game to Seoul in March for an epic man-vs.-machine match. SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY.

UPDATE: The match will be held March 9, 2016. See more here:
 - AlphaGo creator remains confident-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily
 - Historic Go match set for March 9-INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily
"FloorGoban" by Goban1 - Own work.
Licensed under Public Domain via 

In a blog post today, Google highlighted the achievements of some artificial intelligence program called AlphaGo, designed to play the ancient game of "Go" or "baduk" as Koreans call it. The machine has already beat some hotshot player in Europe and in a small blurb about the next step, Google will bring the tech here to Seoul in March to face off against some local Korean hotshot. But why not hear it form the horse's mouth:

What’s next? In March, AlphaGo will face its ultimate challenge: a five-game challenge match in Seoul against the legendary Lee Sedol—the top Go player in the world over the past decade.
[Official Google Blog: AlphaGo: using machine learning to master the ancient game of Go]

Mr. Lee is ranked 9-dan in the game, which is apparently good. Fans of "Reply 1988" (응답하라 1988) may notice that the baduk-playing character Choi Taek (최택) is also ranked 9-dan, as was the real-life inspiration for the character (maybe).

Anyway it'll be interesting to see how the match goes, and whether any nationalist (Korea vs. USA),  corporate (Naver/Samsung vs. Google), or humanist (man vs. machine) sentiments appear. I hope they do, frankly, because excitement.

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