AlphaGo stick t'kettle on

The world’s number one player of strategy board game Go has been beaten by Google’s DeepMind AlphaGo artificial intelligence (AI).

Imagine the hours Ke Jie must have dedicated to playing Go, a game that has more possibilities than the amount of atoms in the visible universe. We checked that. That’s between ten quadrillion vigintillion and one-hundred thousand quadrillion vigintillion atoms. Imagine the pride involved in becoming the very best at it.

Then imagine AI swashbuckling its way into a game and winning. Thanks, Google. We hope you’re having fun, because you’re seriously killing ours.

Why don’t you just start entering AlphaGo on Countdown, Google? Take the glint out of the eyes of all those bright young things who’ve come straight from Oxford, only to be shown up by a computer program in front of Rachel Riley. After that you could hone your Google Cloud Platform to start literally raining on parades.

Hopefully Ke isn’t a broken man after his AlphaGo humbling; dumbing down to chess and sat, bearded, in some Zhejiang national park, shouting “checkmate” at a succession of child competitors.

He might at least take some comfort in computer scientist Noel Sharkey’s words on AI: “It doesn’t know it’s playing a game, and it can’t make you a cup of tea afterwards.” No, that didn’t help. You’re probably just making it worse there, Noel.

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