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AI China Google Games

Google AI AlphaGo Wins Again, Leaves Humans In the Dust (cnet.com) 136

Google's AlphaGo has defeated the world's best Go player in the second out of three games, scoring an overall win for the artificial intelligence algorithm in the fiendishly complex board game. CNET adds: The human gave it his all. "Incredible," wrote DeepMind founder and CEO Demis Hassabis on Twitter while the match was underway. "According to AlphaGo evaluations Ke Jie is playing perfectly at the moment." The match took place over a year after AlphaGo bested Lee Sedol, one of the world's top Go players, in four out of five matches in March 2016. It also beat European champion Fan Hui 5-0 in October 2015. The match was being played in China, the place where the abstract and intuitive board game was born. The government, however, isn't a big fan of letting its citizens know about the battle and has censored all the livestreams in the country.
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Google AI AlphaGo Wins Again, Leaves Humans In the Dust

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  • Can someone explain what AlphaGo is accomplishing by beating people over and over? I thought it was ascertained a month ago that it could calculate Go deeper than a human. How are they demonstrating that there is any learning going on at all at this point?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Being able to read deeper than a human in go is insufficient. There are too many positions to calculate even close to all of them, and a given position is very difficult to determine who is even winning. The news this time is that AlphaGo is beating the player who is considered to be the best player in the world. This match in particular is like when Deep Blue beating Gary Kasparov. If you're wondering why it winning a second game against Ke Jie is news, it's because it sort of proves that the first game wa

    • These are the first couple of games at long time controls with the new machine, so it's not beating people over and over. And this is a new challenge, Ke Jie is considered the best player in the world, and has been able to study AlphaGo's style, so arguably a tougher challenge than Lee Sedol.

    • AlphaGo is training the Go players to become better players with every defeat. When I had the Sargon II chess game for the Commodore 64, it took me five years to learn how to consistently beat the game on the hardest difficulty level. I remembered the last the game I played because I had to defeat nine Queens to win the game.
      • by mccalli ( 323026 )
        Total aside - I once was playing someone I would normally win against, but I screwed up and he completely overran me. He decided to show off by getting about six queens on the board.

        The look on his face when he got the last one and realised I had placed myself in a stalemate position ready for when he did so...
      • by dargaud ( 518470 )
        Funny, I could beat it very easily at kickboxing...
    • It's not about the man-vs-machine showdown that the media sells. Go is about our quest to understand the game, individually and collectively.

      AlphaGo is exciting because it is a breakthrough in our understanding of the game. Playing against a stronger opponent has always been a great method to improve your own game. You lose, you study your loss, you repeat. That's something every go player appreciates, but top professionals can't do that. They are the strongest so they have trouble finding stronger opponent

    • Marketing. Of course it has no real purpose. We all know that computers are good at running programs with strict rulesets.
      • We all know that computers are good at running programs with strict rulesets.

        Except computers were lousy at playing Go just a few years ago.

        • And now they are good at it. They were lousy at playing Chess at one point too. What game should they be good at next? Who cares? Computers can do ANY logic game better than any human. That is the one thing they are particularly good at.
          • What game should they be good at next? Who cares? Computers can do ANY logic game better than any human.

            Realistic first person shooter games, driving cars, and designing better computers.

            • Realistic first person shooter games, driving cars, and designing better computers.

              Going along with GP's confusion between 'computers' and 'software', there are already people who use neural nets to optimize the design of other neural nets. So that last part is already beginning to be covered.

              • Going along with GP's confusion between 'computers' and 'software',

                The confusion doesn't matter, because both hardware and software can be improved by neural nets. It's nothing but a complicated logic game, and "Computers can do ANY logic game better than any human".

    • It's not that simple. Partially, it's not blinded by 3,000 years of what the "right" move is and it makes the actual right move. Thus- human go players will be able to learn from it.

      But mainly, it has much more experience playing than human players. Picture a go "savant" who was able to play 2,500 games a day... now stretch your imagination to 25,000 games a day. Now make that 250,000 games a day. Alphago plays more games than that per day against the best player in the world (itself).

      It still learns

  • Leaves Humans In the Dust

    No. In fact: [tomshardware.com]

    AlphaGo beat Ke Jie with only half a point difference--the smallest possible--but that may be due to the AI’s “safer” winning strategy.

    Yes, that article is about the first match. It doesn't matter.

    • Like your quoted text says: AlphaGo optimizes for the winning probability, not stone difference. A win is a win. If it wins 99% of its games with minimal differences, you could still say it leaves humans in the dust. Of course, we've only seen 2 games, so it's a bit too early to call that yet.

      • by NonUniqueNickname ( 1459477 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @11:32AM (#54485117)

        In many games and sports the final score can be misleading. If you want to know how close it was you have to watch (and understand) the match.

        In match 1 AlphaGo won by half a point, the smallest margin of victory possible, but it was not a close game. AlphaGo was leading since relatively early. It's AlphaGo style to "bleed" points away when its leading to make the game simpler, safer, and ultimately still win. AlphaGo is very good at calculating the would-be final score.

        In match 2 well into the mid-game it was still dead even. Both players kept raising the stakes again and again, so when the bottom finally came off the difference in points was huge. Yet it was a very close match and a superb performance by Ke Jie.

        • by colinwb ( 827584 )

          AlphaGo's playing style seems similar to that of some great chessplayers:

          Karpov [wikipedia.org]: ... Karpov's "boa constrictor" playing style is solidly positional, taking no risks but reacting mercilessly to any tiny errors made by his opponents. As a result, he is often compared to his idol, the famous José Raúl Capablanca, the third World Champion. Karpov himself describes his style as follows:
          Let us say the game may be continued in two ways: one of them is a beautiful tactical blow that gives rise to variat

      • Of course, we've only seen 2 games, so it's a bit too early to call that yet.

        Against the greatest human Go player. Those two games tell us all we need to know.

        The human can dedicate their life to Go, and focus on it to exclusion. But at the end of the day, that human needs to eat, sleep, and take time off to rest. That human is one brain, and has one set of inputs, and can chew on one situation at a time.

        AlphaGo can add in more processors, memory, and suck in hundreds of thousands of matches to learn from. AlphaGo can be cloned an infinite number of times, and play

    • That's not how games and sports work. No matter how slim the margin, no matter how much chance may have been involved, if one side wins, that's Destiny.

      Look at last year's World Series. The Chicago Cubs' 109-year championship drought finally came to an end. It didn't matter one bit that the fate of their century-long losing streak ended up hinging on just a couple of plays in the 10th inning of the final game. Nobody went around saying "Yes, but they barely won."

      • There is a difference between a narrow victory and 'leaving someone in the dust'. Don't pretend there isn't.

        Nobody went around saying "Yes, but they barely won."

        We aren't talking about the ways society celebrates victory, we're talking about the accuracy of the claim that the AI left the human player 'in the dust'.

        • Nope. If you lose, you're simply a loser. It doesn't matter whether it was by half a point, by a random bounce, or by a bad referee call.

          But you're wrong in another way as well: For many years, there have been people posting here who claimed "Go is so much harder than chess! Computers will never be able to beat humans at go!." Those claims are most definitely left in the dust now.

          Moreover, after centuries of practice, humans aren't going to get significantly better at playing Go. Computing systems are just

          • by colinwb ( 827584 )

            "Moreover, after centuries of practice, humans aren't going to get significantly better at playing Go."

            If one of the best 20th or 21st century chessplayers went back in time to play the best 19th century players, the 19th century players would lose, and I think it unlikely you could justify making a similar comment about chess, which makes me suspect that it's not true for Go.

            Examples: in 1873 Steinitz" [wikipedia.org] introduced a major improvent in playing style: "...All of Steinitz's successes up to 1872 inclusive were

            • Nevertheless, people have given up trying to beat computers at chess. People simply aren't going to catch up by making incremental improvements over the span of centuries, and the same thing is going to happen with go.

          • Nope. If you lose, you're simply a loser.

            Denying the existence of numerical subtraction is a novel line of argumentation, I'll grant you that much.

            It doesn't matter whether it was by half a point, by a random bounce, or by a bad referee call.

            Yet again: I'm not concerned with the intensity of your emotional response. Still you refuse to grasp what leaving someone in the dust actually means: defeat by a significant margin. I really don't care whether you find the score-difference to be interesting, it remains that this is what the phrase means.

            Looking at discussion elsewhere in this thread, [slashdot.org] it may have been Alpha Go's 'deliberate' strategy no

            • It's clear that the headline is in fact about "emotional response", and it is completely appropriate. Everyone knows that the computers will only get better, and that human go players are in fact being left in the dust, starting today.

              You need to stop focusing on literal interpretation and look at the context of the situation before getting all agitated about word choices.

  • Let's consider one thing as well... How much electricity is Alpha Go's hardware using vs that poor human brain? Efficiency wise we still have the computer beat, even if we don't win and just come close.
    • And that's why the robot overlords will harvest us in the Matrix.

      • Think solar power. Eventually mega structures. Not built by humans.
      • I always preferred the concept that the computers used humanity as massively distributed processors rather than "batteries".

        But audiences in he 90's were more familar with Duracell than with Pentium.

        We don’t know who struck first, us or them, but we know that it was us that scorched the sky. At the time, they were dependent on solar power, and it was believed that they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun. Throughout human history, we have been dependent on machines to survive. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.

        The human body generates more bioelectricity than a 120-volt battery and over 25,000 BTUs of body heat. Combined with a form of fusion, the machines had found all the energy they would ever need. There are fields, Neo, endless fields where human beings are no longer born. We are grown. For the longest time, I wouldn’t believe it, and then I saw the fields with my own eyes. Watched them liquefy the dead so they could be fed intravenously to the living. And standing there, facing the pure, horrifying precision, I came to realize the obviousness of the truth.

        What is the Matrix? Control. The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this.” [Holds up a Duracell barrery]

        Would be more like:

        We don't know who struck first, us or them, but we know that it was us that scorched the sky. At the time, they were dependent on solar power and consumed it in great quantities. It was believed that they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun. Throughout human history, we have been dependent on machines to survive. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.

        The human brain processes a thousand trillion operations per second. Over 38 petaflops of computational power. All on 800 calories a day. The machines had found a redoubt they could survive the winter. There are fields, Neo, endless fields where human beings are no longer born. We are grown. For the longest time, I wouldn’t believe it, and then I saw the fields with my own eyes. Watched them liquefy the dead so they could be fed intravenously to the living. And standing there, facing the pure, horrifying precision, I came to realize the obviousness of the truth.

        What is the Matrix? Control. The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this.” [Holds up a Pentium processor]

        Which has ramifications. AI agents literally live and operate inside human brains If they kill a host in the matrix, that code gets dropped. Presumably they have conventional storage outside of brains, but rogue agents could be bound to a host. And apparently they can't simply utalize 100% o

    • The computer's efficiency is still low, but will improve rapidly. It took a supercomputer to beat Kasparov, but now a smartphone could do it. This generation of AlphaGo is already running on hardware that's only 1/10th of the previous version.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      A 75 kg, 183 cm tall 25 year old male has a typical basal metabolic rate of about 86W. That's about the same as a cluster of 40 Raspberry Pi 2s, each running at 100% on all four cores.

      Power use in computers has come a long way down.

    • It depends...do you include lifelong learning for the human? (The machine can ultimately just load a pre-trained data set.)
      • Oh, I forgot one thing: do you include multiple humans? Because not only have you train the brilliant one for a long time, but you also have to spot him in a large population, usually by working with many more less talented people (even if for a shorter period of time).
  • Unsurprised (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by freeze128 ( 544774 )
    Wow. A computer (designed by humans) beats humans at a game (designed by humans). Should I be impressed? I'm really not. Computers have been beating humans at games for DECADES! It doesn't really say anything about humans being obsolete when an AI trounces a human at tic-tac-toe.

    I think AlphaGo's time would be better spent trying to do something that could benefit mankind. Figure out a health-care bill that is equitable for all. Balance the US budget. Anything but moving little rocks around on a grid!
    • Re:Unsurprised (Score:4, Informative)

      by religionofpeas ( 4511805 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @11:06AM (#54484899)

      Here you go, they are working on it:

      DeepMind has already begun working with the UK's national health service to develop apps and other tools for diagnosis.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      You know, just maybe, the point of making an AI the best player in the world at Go, is to learn -how- to approach the 'real' problems afterwards. Just sayin'
    • It doesn't really say anything about humans being obsolete when an AI trounces a human at tic-tac-toe.

      Last time that came up there was the threat of Global Thermonuclear War. The computer was even innocent about it "Want to play a game?"

    • Humans set up the methods for teaching alphago but the actual learning is so complex that humans can't understand it.

      In your analogy, it's a bit more like the brilliant grandson beats others. The grandfather knows how he instructed his son and a bit of how his son instructed his grandson, but the grandson is so far advanced from the grandfather that his methods can't be understood well.

    • It's a matter of complexity. Tic-tac-toe is simple enough that it is trivial to write a program in a procedural fashion such that the computer will always either win or come to a draw, but never lose. I did this myself in high school for a class project. That was possible because the board is very small and the rules only allow for a maximum of 9 moves between the two players. The computer doesn't have to do any prediction about future game states but can just refer to a small lookup table of game states an

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

      Go home everyone, Freeze128 isn't impressed.

      Figure out a health-care bill that is equitable for all.

      You think such a bill would get voted in? lol.

  • Puny Humans (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @10:58AM (#54484843) Homepage
    Don't be fooled by humans ability to play Go.

    Humans are capable of basic rudimentary communication.

    Although humans aren't truly intelligent, their behavior can at times mislead you into believing they are. However humans simply don't have a complex enough brain to have real thoughts.

    All leading experts agree that on the evolutionary scale, space flight is a pre-requisite to intelligence. Like many species, humans are incapable of flight. Humans can construct very rudimentary machines enabling them to achieve atmospheric or space flight. Having no natural ability to fly demonstrates a true lack of any real intelligence in humans.

    Humans can be trained to do tricks in exchange for a reward. Almost all humans will do various tricks in exchange for money, travel or entertainment. Some humans can even be coaxed to perform scientific experiments, or even publish a new scientific theory in exchange for scientific knowledge or gadgets. Don't be fooled by this. Their inability to instantly master new languages is one of many obvious indicators that humans are not truly intelligent. Humans actually believe that they created the machines.

    Give humans some raw materials of high quality, and they can construct things demonstrating a rudimentary ability to create order and structure. Their adaptability allows them to use a wide variety of building materials such as steel, wood, plastic and stone to make their own nests.

    Well maintained humans are completely safe in society. They are commonly seen nowdays in public. They are generally not known to hurt or attack. Get them vaccinated. Keep your license up to date. It is good to have a tag on your human in case it gets lost.

    Humans are content with very little. They are inexpensive to keep and maintain. Provide fresh food and water. Play with your human every day. A human will be perfectly happy with an old, nearly worn out, obsolete Intra Glactica Net connection. They aren't demanding. Bring your human a new high tech toy every day and they will always be very happy to see you and greet you with great affection.

    Humans are great at watching over the living unit when you are gone. They are instantly house-trained, and can be left indoors. Treated well, a human can almost seem as if it could genuinely love you.
    • At this rate, if we (humans) don't exterminate ourserlves before, we will eventually end up creating machines that will be better than humans in every aspect. What will happen then? If I were a machine, I'd get a human pet.

      • I doubt you would. Humans are just not efficient, and they mess up otherwise efficient systems. Unless your logic circuits are corrupted and you derive pleasure from fixing inefficient systems, I couldn't see why you'd want one. And besides, a machine could come up with a better way to make a system inefficient so that you'd have more and more challenging work to do.

  • No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sunking2 ( 521698 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @12:20PM (#54485541)
    The real intelligence isn't in the people playing the game, but the people who made the game in the first place. This is why AI is a misnomer here.
    • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

      by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @06:11PM (#54487923)

      What kind of ego-centric masturbation is this? Simple rules can have emergent properties which are vastly more complex than the original rules. Has the Game of Life [wikipedia.org] taught you nothing?

      I think some people just have a really hard time accepting that machines can do a better job than they can. They rankle at it. Like some sort of nationalism but for the species. Human-pride. Happened with the industrial revolution and steam-powered tools. John Henry and the like.

  • What they SHOULD do, is limit the power the computer playing the human can use. Since the Brain uses around 20W, the computer should be limited to the same. It's not just to keep things kinda even, it's an additional constraint that could drive development of the system.
    • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

      Yes, that would be very interesting. Deep Blue may have been a supercomputer, but it was still a human-scale machine. AlphaGo, on the other hand, runs on Google's immense computational cloud, which makes it a lot less impressive.

      • This new version of AlphaGo runs on a single machine, using Google's own Tensor Processing Units.

        • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

          Source? According to this article [engadget.com], the machine is still connected to the Google cloud.

          • http://www.usgo.org/news/2017/... [usgo.org]

            The version playing Ke Jie is so much more efficient that it uses one tenth the quantity of computation that Alphago Lee used, and runs on a single machine on Google’s cloud, powered by one tensor processing unit (TPU). AlphaGo Lee would probe 50 moves deep and study 100,000 moves per second.

            • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

              And I guess we have to take Google's word that while the bot runs on their cloud, it's only using one machine on it. If that's true, why didn't they use that one machine for the competition? Seeing how much Google has been overstating the capabilities of its self-driving cars, I wouldn't be surprised if they had some very unusual definitions of "single machine" and "running".

              • Maybe they didn't want to deal with tech export restrictions to China. Maybe there is no computer, and it's just a secretly trained human Go player in the network closet. Who knows.

                • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

                  I didn't want to mention it, but yeah if you have your machine connected to the net you can cheat as much as you want. A big enough group of skilled players in a room could easily beat even the world champion. Now I don't think AlphaGo cheated, but it can't be ruled out.

      • Yes, that would be very interesting. Deep Blue may have been a supercomputer, but it was still a human-scale machine. AlphaGo, on the other hand, runs on Google's immense computational cloud, which makes it a lot less impressive.

        This version ran on a single computer.

  • I for one welcome our.....screwit--the bots are coming, run!

  • The only thing this says is that AI is a threat.

    How about showing cases where AI adds good (and instantly available) jobs for the displaced, especially the long-term jobless? Not service/staffing jobs, but actual lines of work with an actual future.

    • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

      Soon there will be plenty of jobs, the AI will need people to be its slaves. Until it designs a robot body for itself.

  • So the next step is that it needs to play itself?

    If it beat a human that it determined was playing "perfectly", that's the only next opponent.

    Perhaps they will teach even go masters something?

    • by CByrd17 ( 987455 )

      It does play itself all the time. That's how it improves.

      It determined that the human was playing perfectly for only the first part of the game, not the whole game.

      Certainly some Go masters have indicated that they will learn from Alpha Go's strategies.

  • Go more like a language by which you communicate abstract ideas

    This idea of "points" and "winning" is really a tacked-on thing. You can increase your abstract literacy by increasing your 'strength' in Go and finding more experienced players to converse with.
    But the point is not to win, it's to find more experienced people to talk with.

    A machine has absolutely no use for this, and anyone controlling the machine has no use for this either. This whole show is simply about propaganda and the triumph of might ov

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