DeepMind’s AI Victory Over Humans Is A Very Big Deal

GoogleDeepMind-Logotype-Vertical_BlackThe importance of Google owned DeepMind’s AI victory over the world’s best Go player is difficult to fathom. People expect computers to be smarter than human beings, however, Go is one game that was expected to be beyond what AI is capable of right now.

The reason for this is that GO is a deceptively simple game with very few rules. All the pieces on the board have the same value, unlike chess where having more ‘valuable’ pieces means that you will win more often than not.

Players themselves describe the game as being based on intuition and ‘feel’ rather than any set rules. It takes them years of experience to try and figure out patterns which can vary greatly from game to game. Thus, it is impossible for a computer program to beat a human being simply by brute computing power.

DeepMind’s UI employed what is referred to as neural learning to be able to learn how to play the game. The UI learns more and more about what is likely to happen by playing the game millions of times against itself and thus is able to anticipate what is likely to happen as well as what moves usually result in positions of strength.

This means that the computing power required to play a game of Go is much lesser than what one would expect to be required. The developers of the program have declared that machine specifications are the same as what were used in lesser competitions last year. According to them, they had reached the point of diminishing returns when it came to hardware.

Google’s Sergei Brin described the AI as imbibed with ‘beauty’. It is hard to argue against this description since the AI designed by DeepMind is evolving on its own and is able to respond to fluid situations on its own.

In other words, it has learned how to think.

The enormity of this milestone will probably be understood many years after this series of games is done, however, it makes one pause and think about the potential this sort of AI has on every aspect of life.

Google has already declared its intentions to utilize AI for its work in Robotics, healthcare, self-driving cars and even smartphone assistants. The time when this intelligence could be at the fingertips of everyone who owns a smartphone is not far.

In the near future, however, Go players all over the world are disappointed that the sport they considered to be beyond machines has been conquered once and for all. It could also lead to changes in the way the game has been played till now since AlphaGo (the AI) utilized many moves which were considered absolute sacrilege by old masters.

The pace of change with technology has usually taken years, even generations to reach the masses. With AI, this pace promises to be faster than anything that has ever been seen before in the history of the world. Fasten your seatbelts.

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