Top Go player ponders AlphaGo matchup

Updated: 2016-03-17 08:10

By Xinhua(China Daily)

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The world's top weiqi (or Go) player, Ke Jie, believes he has got what it takes to beat the artificial intelligence program AlphaGo, which has just thrashed South Korean grandmaster Lee See-dol, but Ke admits his chances of winning are shrinking as AlphaGo "learns" at a stunning pace.

Developed by Google's London-based AI subsidiary DeepMind, AlphaGo ended its historic tournament against Lee on Tuesday. It clinched the competition between man and machine by winning the final match of the ancient Chinese board game and taking the seven-day series 4-1.

Ke, the youngest player to win three world titles, had claimed "AlphaGo can't beat me" before the much-hyped contest. After the dust had settled, he was still relatively confident.

"I believe I can beat it. Machines can be very strong in many aspects but still have loopholes in certain calculations," said the 18-year-old.

Top Go player ponders AlphaGo matchup

But he realizes his chances of beating the machine grow slimmer as time goes on because of AlphaGo's learning ability. "It can teach itself and it evolves to be better and better. It is hard to predict (who would win) in future," he said.

Ke had put his chances of beating AlphaGo at around 60 percent.

A matchup between Ke and AlphaGo is eagerly anticipated, especially in China and by DeepMind's developers.

DeepMind's CEO, Demis Hassabis, has expressed a willingness to invite Ke to be AlphaGo's next opponent and the company's research scientist, Raia Hadsell, directly raised the prospect of Ke playing against the machine.

"Up for a match, Ke Jie?" she asked on her Facebook page after AlphaGo won a ranking in the listing of human Go ratings. AlphaGo had a world ranking of fourth and 3,533 points following its defeat of Lee on Sunday. It has since climbed to 2nd.

Ke, currently world No 1 in Go ratings, defeated Qiu Jun to win the 2nd Bailing Cup final and become world champion on Jan 14, 2015.

Ke has since earned Go's highest level of nine dan and won the 2015 Samsung Cup.