Mysterious ‘Go’ Master Who’s Been Destroying World’s Top Players Was a Google AI All Along

Go, a strategy board game which originated from China more than 2,500 years ago, has relatively simple rules, but with very complex gameplay in the same class as Chess. The game, which is still currently played globally, has recently found a formidable player in the form of an artificial intelligence program — Google’s AlphaGo.

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Last year, in March, the AI made history by beating one of the world’s best Go players, Korea’s Lee Sedol in a landslide 4-1 victory.

Just this week, a mysterious Go player named “Master” emerged online beating some of the best players of the game in Asia and Europe, including Chinese player Ke Jie, the reigning top-ranked Go player in the world, Sina reported (via Quartz).

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After winning more than 50 games against several top Go players, the secret player came forward and revealed itself as the AI AlphaGo via the game’s Chinese online forums on Jan. 4, local news reported.

Writing on foxwq.com, the user “Master” simply announced: “I’m AlphaGo’s Doctor Huang,” in reference to Taiwanese developer Aja Huang, a member of Google’s DeepMind team behind the highly advanced AI.

Deepmind founder Demis Hassabis would later confirm the announcement on Twitter, stating that Master is an updated version of AlphaGo currently undergoing “unofficial testing.”

In Master’s last run, which began on December 29, it defeated an impressive list of top Go players including current world rank No. 3 Park Jung-hwan from Korea, No. 5 Iyama Yuta from Japan and No. 1 Ke, who lost 3 times against it.

When the test was concluded on Jan. 4, Master had accumulated 60 wins, one tie (its 52nd rival, Chen Yaoye, went offline, counting it as a tie), and zero losses.

Even before Master’s revelation of its identity, there have been indications that it may have been an AI all along.

In a Weibo post published on Dec. 31, Ke wrote after his losing his second game:

“I have studied Go softwares for over half a year since March, learning theories and putting them into practices countless times. I only wondered why computers are better… Humans have evolved in games in thousands of years—but computers now tell us humans are all wrong. I think no one is even close to know the basics of Go.”

Image via xchen27

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