AlphaGo: its creator on the computer that learns by thinking

South Korean professional Go player Lee Sedol, right, reviews the match after winning the fourth match of the Google DeepMind challenge. Photograph: Lee Jin-man/AP The computer programme that defeated the world Go champion taught itself how to improve its game by playing millions of matches against itself, according to the head of the Google subsidiary that developed the software. Demis Hassabis, who co-founded DeepMind – the London-based unit that built the AlphaGo programme, said that he hoped to use the same technique to help Google improve its own products, such as its phone assistants and search engines. “We call it deep reinforcement learning,” Hassabis said. “It’s the combination of deep learning, neural network stuff, with reinforcement learning: so learning by trial and error, and incrementally improving and learning from your…

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