AlphaGo was just the beginning

Posted on Posted in Artificial Intelligence

DeepMind’s AlphaGo Zero AI program just became the Go world champion without human data or guidance. Unlike Alpha Go, no human game of Go has been shown to AlphaGo Zero. Instead, the algorithm learned the rules of Go by competing against himself without prior knowledge of the game.


Deep Mind (acquired by Google in 2014) is one of the greatest AI company in the world. It is often described as an Apollo program for AI because it gathers the best scientists and engineers to make quick progress in this domain. Their goal is to:

  1. Solve intelligence
  2. Use step 1 to solve complex problems (from healthcare to climate change).

Deep Mind has already created AlphaGo, a computer program that has beaten the Go (ancient Chinese game) world champion Lee Sedol 4 games to 1 by manifesting both intuition and creativity. The game of Go has been played for more than 2,500 years and is widely viewed as not only a game but a complex art form. In the game of Go, there are more possible moves than atoms in the entire universe. AlphaGo has shocked the Go community, especially with the infamous “move 37” described as “so beautiful”. Fan Hui explained:

It’s not a human move. I’ve never seen a human play this move.

AlphaGo was just the beginning. Deep Mind just announced an improved form of the program called AlphaGo Zero. This new system marks a significant technological jump from the AlphaGo program. Unlike AlphaGo, AlphaGo Zero does not need human data or guidance. In fact, no human game of Go has been shown to AlphaGo Zero. Instead, the algorithm learned the rules of Go by competing against himself without prior knowledge of the game. Although the first games were random, the AI system used a novel form of reinforcement learning developed by Deep Mind to improve every time.

After just three days of playing against itself (4.9 million times), AlphaGo Zero beat AlphaGo by 100 games to 0. Thus, DeepMind’s AlphaGo Zero AI program just became the world Go champion without human data or guidance.


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