With just three stones on the board, it was clear that this was going to be no ordinary game of Go.
Chinese Go Grandmaster and world number one Ke Jie departed from his typical style of play and opened with a “3:3 point” strategy - a highly unusual approach aimed at quickly claiming corner territory at the start of the game. The placement is rare amongst Go players, but it’s a favoured position of our program AlphaGo. Ke Jie was playing it at its own game.
Ke Jie’s thoughtful positioning of that single black stone was a fitting motif for the opening match of The Future of Go Summit in Wuzhen, China, an event dedicated to exploring the truth of this beautiful and ancient game. Over the last five days we have been honoured to witness games of the highest calibre.
This week’s series of thrilling games with the world’s best players, in the country where Go originated, has been the highest possible pinnacle for AlphaGo as a competitive program. For that reason, the Future of Go Summit is our final match event with AlphaGo.
The research team behind AlphaGo will now throw their energy into the next set of grand challenges, developing advanced general algorithms that could one day help scientists as they tackle some of our most complex problems, such as finding new cures for diseases, dramatically reducing energy consumption, or inventing revolutionary new materials. If AI systems prove they are able to unearth significant new knowledge and strategies in these domains too, the breakthroughs could be truly remarkable. We can’t wait to see what comes next.
Well, that chapter of human history is closed. 3-0 sweep against the number one Go player. But good game, and I greatly respect Ke Jie for pushing technology to its absolute limits and showing that humanity still has a few special moves to play, even if he could not overcome the sheer power of the machines.
All that's left to ask is "What's next?"