Computer takes first game in match against Go world champion

GO TIME Top Go player Lee Sedol makes his move in the first of five matches against Google’s Go-playing machine, AlphaGo. 


Computer: 1, Human: 0.

That’s the score after the first match between Lee Sedol, the world’s top Go player and AlphaGo, the computer program that recently defeated the European Go champion.

AlphaGo is the creation of Google DeepMind, an artificial intelligence company based in London. The company’s program is the first to give top human players a run for their money in Go, a complex Chinese strategy game that almost makes chess look like Candy Land.

AlphaGo and Sedol will play four more matches over the next week in Seoul, South Korea. The winner will receive a $1 million prize and, perhaps more importantly, secure a place in history as either the man who triumphed over the best Go-playing machine ever created — or the first machine to surpass humankind’s players.

Meghan Rosen is a staff writer who reports on the life sciences for Science News. She earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology with an emphasis in biotechnology from the University of California, Davis, and later graduated from the science communication program at UC Santa Cruz.

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