Humans No Match for Go Bot Overlords?

• 2 min read

Since my time away from blogging , I've found a new distraction addiction to keep my overactive mind busy.  It's called Go (well two if you count 18 yr single malt scotch), an ancient strategy game that's really big in the Asian world but catching on here.  Its a fun game and I routinely get beat online by 6 year old children from all over the world.

So, what does Go have in common with neural nets and AI?  Quite a lot actually because programmers are working frantically to build a Go program that can beat humans.  So far they haven't had success because school children routinely beat these programs but that could be changing, all through the use of the Monte Carlo method:

Called the Monte Carlo method, it has driven computer programs to defeat ranking human players six times in the last year. That's a far cry from chess, the previous benchmark of human cognitive prowess, in which Deep Blue played Garry Kasparov to a panicked defeat in 1997, and Deep Fritz trounced Vladimir Kramnik in 2006. To continue the golf analogy, computer Go programs beat the equivalents of Chris Couch rather than Tiger Woods, and had a multi-stroke handicap. But even six victories was inconceivable not too long ago, and programmers say it won't be long before computer domination is complete.

But the programmers admit that they're merely throwing brute computational force behind this algorithm and they're missing the nuances of intelligence that allow humans to continue to beat these programs.

"People hoped that if we had a strong Go program, it would teach us how our minds work. But that's not the case," said Bob Hearn, a Dartmouth College artificial intelligence programmer. "We just threw brute force at a program we thought required intellect." [By Brandon Keim]

Well I think they're still a way off before that can happen but in the meantime I highly recommend this game to anyone.  Especially those with artificial and human intelligence. =)



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