Man vs. Machine – Machine Wins (All the Time?)

Or we can call this, articficial intelligence vs. human intelligence.  Depending on your perspective, this may be either good news or bad news when you hear that the machine seems to be winning all the time.  The game that is being used in this contest is something called “Go,” which I have never played.  It is a game played with round black and white stones, and two players alternately place pieces on a square grid with the goal of occupying the most territory.  So is this really a game anymore since the machine’s “intelligence” never loses?  But maybe I am overreacting, and I should join the ranks of the artificial intelligence advocates and simply admire the ingenuity of designing such a “perfect” Go player/opponent.

I hate to be a poor sport, but what is the point of playing a game when the odds clearly tell you “not a chance.”  This machine will never make a mistake, unlike you.  There are no weaknesses to be exploited, but I guess I am getting too competitive in a very human way.  Maybe I can learn from the machine (after I learn how to play Go first).  I’m sure there must be a computer program that can teach me, so I should at least be thankful for that.  

If you are really interested in all this, Alphabet (Google) will match its AlphaGo program against Leo Sedol, the current Go champion in a five-game match in March streamed live on YouTube.  There will be $1 million prize for the winner (donated to charity if AlphaGo wins).  I hope they pick a needy charity if they have to, and good luck to you too, Mr. Sedol.

Ray Myers


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