Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”
I appreciate Erik Bates suggesting this to me. He was right; it's an interesting look at a key moment when A.I.'s potential to compete with humans was made clear to the public for the first time. You don't need to know anything about Go to enjoy it.
I don't know why the human world champion Lee Sedol agreed to play against the A.I., since it was a lose-lose prospect for him: If he won the series, he'd have been perceived as demeaning himself to play against a much lesser opponent, and if he lost, he'd forever sacrifice respect and standing in the world of Go. The American fable of John Henry is not mentioned once here, presumably because this takes place entirely in London and Seoul, but I couldn't stop thinking about it.
This reminds of me an old documentary about Garry Kasparov famously losing a chess competition to Deep Blue, which seemed to me like a triumph of psychology: The IBM team got into Kasparov's head and manipulated him into losing confidence in himself, a weakness that the computer didn't share. I don't see any indication of that in AlphaGo, but there is a key moment when the computer makes an inspired move on the Go board that no human would make, and both Sedol and the assembled Go experts are awestruck by it. That they react with respect for the A.I.'s creativity, rather than mockery of the obvious "mistake" or immediate suspicion of duplicity, says a lot about their integrity and love of the game.
Erik Bates: “It ruled.”
I recently discovered the game of Go, through the twisted world that is the Youtube algorithm. I recall several years ago hearing about how Google had rocked the world by building an AI that could not only play, but could win against the best Go players in the world.
Between this, and generative AI, I fear Skynet is next.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I feel a little bad for Lee Sedol, who has now retired from playing Go because of the advancement of AI in the game. It's as if AI sucked the soul from the game, and made it no longer challenging or fun for him.
Scott Hardie: more by Scott