DeepMind retires AlphaGo AI from competitive play

Team to focus on diseases and energy issues

Google's DeepMind has revealed that its AI's victorious set of Go matches against world champion Ke Jie will be its last in competitive sport.

The company made the announcement in a blog, saying the team behind AlphaGo will now concentrate on applying its abilities to problems in areas like medical research, rather than playing games against some of the most strategic thinkers of the universe.

"The research team behind AlphaGo will now throw their energy into the next set of grand challenges, developing advanced general algorithms that could one day help scientists as they tackle some of our most complex problems, such as finding new cures for diseases, dramatically reducing energy consumption, or inventing revolutionary new materials," Demis Hassabis, co-founder and CEO of DeepMind, said.

"If AI systems prove they are able to unearth significant new knowledge and strategies in these domains too, the breakthroughs could be truly remarkable."

DeepMind will write one more paper about the changes it has made to AlphaGo's computer mind and hopes that doing so will inspire other developers and scientists to explore the potential of AI.

It will also turn its findings during the development of AlphaGo into a Go teaching tool, working alongside Go play Ke Jie to help others play a more dynamic game.

"We have been humbled by the Go community's reaction to AlphaGo, and the way professional and amateur players have embraced its insights about this ancient game," Hassabis finished.

"We plan to bring that same excitement and insight to a range of new fields, and try to address some of the most important and urgent scientific challenges of our time. We hope that the story of AlphaGo is just the beginning."

26/05/2017: Google's AI beats human Go champion - again

Google's AI machine, AlphaGo, has beaten world Go champion Ke Jie in its second match as part of a three-game series.

"For the first 100 moves it was the closest we've ever seen anyone play against the Master version of AlphaGo," DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis said in the post-game press conference.

In this second round, AlphaGo won when Chinese champion Ke resigned, making it a clear victory for AlphaGo - points didn't even come into it as they did in the first match.

19-year-old Ke described the robot as "a god of a Go player," he was so impressed by its gameplaying style.

"Today's game was different from the first," Ke said. "AlphaGo made some moves which were opposite from my vision of how to maximize the possibility of winning. I also thought I was very close to winning the game in the middle but maybe that's not what AlphaGo was thinking. I'm a little bit sad, it's a bit of a regret because I think I played pretty well."

The third and final Go match is scheduled to happen on Saturday, although AlphaGo is already the winner in this little tournament, it would seem.

24/05/2017: Google's AI beats the world's best human Go player

Google DeepMind's AI machine, AlphaGo, has beaten the world's number one Go player in a match, with Google's robot winning by just half a point.

The robot was put up against Ke Jie, following the defeat of another world leading Go player South Korean grandmaster Lee Se-dol last year. Following the victory, Google invited Jie to play against the machine at the Future of Go Summit in China, which was organised by Google to show off the system's expertise.

AlphaGo learned how to play the game by studying past games in-depth, including many of Jie's previous matches with other humans.

"There were some unexpected moves and I was deeply impressed," competitor Ke Jie told the BBC. "I was quite shocked as there was a move that would never happen in a human-to-human Go match."

The robot will now take part in two further matches with Ji to prove itself as the all-conquering Go player. The second match will take place on Thursday, with the final game planned for Saturday.

The game requires strategic thinking, with players required to place stones on a 19x19 square grid. The aim of the game is to take as much of the grid as possible.

"It was a such close game, an exciting game and showed how much work Ke Jie put into preparing for the match," DeepMind co-founder Demis Hassabis added.

"It was interesting for us to see him using moves from AlphaGo's previous games, and we were intrigued to see how AlphaGo deals with its own strategies used - huge respect to Ke Jie for pushing AlphaGo to its limits."

Google plans for AlphaGo to be used for deeper implementations in the future, including medicine and science now it's been proved just how intelligent the system is.

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