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  • Gareth Crook

AlphaGo (2017)

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

I’ve never played Go. I need to rectify this. There’s a beautiful simplicity to it, but one that’s also incredibly complicated. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but perhaps that’s why it’s considered the ultimate test of AI intelligence. Can a computer beat the best players in the world? There’s nothing especially innovative about the film itself, but the story is really interesting, not least in who you root for, human or AI. That’s not the only match up though, the human player, world champion Lee Sedol is from South Korea, a place where Go is a huge deal and top players are celebrities, he’s playing for national pride as well as his own. The AlphaGo team, for professional pride. There’s a lot on the line and the tension is palpable... oh and the match is televised live with millions watching! 80 million in fact. The purists don’t believe the AI can overcome the fluidity of the human mind and it’s quite amusing to watch perceptions shift and admiration build. I will say that the production is fantastic, cameras everywhere and tons of commentary not only on the game, but on what the outcomes mean, for AI, for humans, for the future, it really pulls you into the magnitude of what's unfolding. There are heartbreaking moments of real upset which is quite remarkable in two worlds of Go and AI that are seemingly on the surface devoid of emotion. The game, the story, the human ingenuity be it direct or via machine is quite remarkable. Human + machine = An exciting future. Now I just need to buy a board.



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