In Seoul, Authentic Enthusiasm (and Concern) Over Artificial Intelligence

By CHOE SANG-HUN March 15, 2016 Times Insider delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how news, features and opinion come together at The New York Times. In this piece, Choe Sang-Hun, The Times’s Seoul bureau chief, describes how he covered a Go match between the Go master Lee Se-dol and Google’s AlphaGo. Lee Se-dol, a boyish-looking 33-year-old and a South Korean Go master, was preparing on Wednesday for his first match in a best-of-five series. His challenger, though, was nowhere to be seen. That’s because his challenger was a computer program. For days, I’ve listened to people in Seoul talk about “the match of the century” — a round of Go between Mr. Lee and AlphaGo, a computer program created by Google’s DeepMind artificial intelligence unit. Few news events here have attracted such a…

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