How the Computer Beat the Go Master

God moves the player, he in turn the piece.But what god beyond God begins the roundOf dust and time and sleep and agony? —Jorge Luis Borges As I write this column, a computer program called AlphaGo is beating the professional go player Lee Sedol at a highly publicized tournament in Seoul. Sedol is among the top three players in the world, having attained the highest rank of nine dan. The victory over one of humanity’s best representatives of this very old and traditional board game is a crushing 4 to 1, with one more game to come. With this defeat, computers have bettered people in the last of the classical board games, a game known for both depth and simplicity. An era is over and a new one is beginning.…

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