Towards the backend of last month, it was revealed that Google had developed an AI machine so advanced, it could beat a French Go champion at one of the most challenging games to teach a machine. DeepMind’s AlphaGo machine beat European champion Fan Hui 5-0 at Go, a game which — although simple to learn — features millions of combinations. Because of this complexity, teaching a machine to play beyond an amateur level has been challenging.
While Google kept the matches secret last time out, the company has revealed that it will livestream its next set of matches against the worlds highest-ranked player, Lee Sedol. The games will take place on March 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15 in South Korea. What’s more, there’s a $1 million prize at stake, suggesting Google is pretty confident in its machine’s abilities following its win against Fan Hui.
Match days: 9, 10, 12, 13, 15 March – will be livestreamed on YouTube. More details soon. We are very excited to be coming to South Korea!
— Demis Hassabis (@demishassabis) February 4, 2016
“If we win the match in March, then that’s sort of the equivalent of beating Kasparov in chess,” Hassibis told reporters at a press briefing last month. “Lee Sedol is the greatest player of the past decade. I think that would mean AlphaGo would be better than any human at playing Go. Go is the ultimate game in AI research.”
Clearly, there’s a lot riding on this for Google. While it’s confident in its machine’s ability to beat Sedol, and learn new game-winning moves, if it loses, it could be something of a minor embarrassment for the DeepMind team.