Lee Sedol loses 4-1, who’s next for AlphaGo?

The competition between Google’s computer program AlphaGo and World Go Champion Lee Sedol has been a hot topic recently, getting widespread attention all over the world. A five-game match between AlphaGo and Sedol ended in Sedol’s defeat this week with a score of four games to one in favor of the computer program.

After suffering the one loss versus Sedol, AlphaGo currently ranks second on the Go ratings list with an Elo rating of 3586. Elo ratings are a method of calculating relative skill levels of players in one-on-one games. Ke Jie, the Chinese Go genius who defeated Lee Sedol in the second MLily Cup in January 2016, ranks first with an Elo rating of 3621.

rating list
                                                                              From go ratings.org

A R&D engineer on AlphaGo, Raia Hadesell, said on her Facebook that AlphaGo would challenge Ke one day.

“Come on, AlphaGo ! I have experienced ups and downs in Go competitions, so I don’t dare you ! ” from Ke Jie’s Sina Weibo.

“We can learn something from AlphaGo but it doesn’t mean its ways are the best,” Ke said in an interview with the state-run people.cn.

Ke thought highly of Lee Sedol’s performance in the fourth match and considered that AlphaGo may not be invincible due to bugs in the program.

“Lee Sedol’s victory inspires me so greatly that I am confident about having a 60 to 70 percent chance of defeating AlphaGo,” Ke added in the interview.

Japanese Go players have had a great influence on Chinese and Korean players. There has been a trend towards these players trying their skills against machines. In 2013, the famous Japanese “nine-dan” ranked pro, Yoshio Ishida, was defeated by the Go playing engine Crazy Stone, which was invented by French computer scientist Rémi Coulom. In 2014, Norimoto Yoda, another professional nine-dan master, defeated Zen, a Go engine created by Japanese programmer Yoji Ojima. Five respected nine-dan masters including Yoshio Ishida and Norimoto Yoda from Japan shared their insights on the competition between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol in an interview with Chinese media outlet Sina.

Yoshio Ishida said there was a 10-year gap between Go software and professional Go players, but the former has caught up to humans.

“I have studied the Go manual of the competition and disagree that AlphaGo has surpassed humans. I have never competed with AlphaGo, but I think China has a strong rival for it,” Norimoto Yoda said in the interview.

According to a fun survey done by AllChinaTech, 38 percent of respondents think Ke can defeat AlphaGo, while 30 percent think it’s impossible for him to win.

A famous nine-dan pro Nie Weiping hopes Sina can invite AlphaGo to compete with Ke. According to Sina, Deepmind is thinking about this matter.

Will Ke be AlphaGo’s killer? Only a future competition between AlphaGo and Ke can decide their fate. Ke, are you ready?

(Top photo from sxdaily.com.cn)

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