Why is Google’s Go win such a big deal?

Tweet Share DeepMind’s dramatic victory over legendary Go player Lee Se-dol earlier today is a huge moment in the history of artificial intelligence, and something many predicted would be decades away. “I was very surprised,” says Lee. “I didn’t expect to lose. I didn’t think AlphaGo would play the game in such a perfect manner.” But why is it so impressive that DeepMind’s AlphaGo program — backed by the might of Google — has beaten one of the game’s most celebrated figures? To understand that, you have to understand the game’s roots, and how the DeepMind team has built AlphaGo to uproot them. Go, known as weiqi in China, igo in Japan, and baduk in Korea, is an abstract board game that dates back nearly 3,000 years. It’s a game…

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