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solomon dubie

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AI Masters a Game Only Humans Could Play

Go ( is a fiendishly difficult game of strategy which, unlike Chess, depends upon specific choices that players make which in turn can overturn an expected (and computable) outcome to something entirely different.

It's non-linear nature made it one of those games which many thought computers would struggle at. Yet, like everything we see and do, it is also governed by patterns and patterns, however obtuse and intricate, are subject to analysis which means they too can be computed.

Google, in collaboration with MIT managed one of its fabled sleight-of-hand moves putting together a hybrid system that uses Machine Learning in some of the process to deliver an AI that can actually play

This is really important, not least because it also signals an acceleration of pattern recognition (and prediction) in search. It marks clearly Google's advantage in this area (the company is at least ten years ahead of everyone else in its research) and it also indicates the increased importance AI plays as we move into the future.

Google's development is important for one other reason: Facebook. Zuckerberg also announced Facebook's intent to fashion an AI capable of playing Go ( Facebook's Founder is, rightly, focused upon AI research and has made it his personal mission this year:

Facebook's announcement could not be more different than Google's and it also marks the deep differences between the two companies: Google used its data and engineering excellence plus its connection with academia to crack the problem. Facebook intends to. Viewed against its track record with M ( this raises some questions regarding its capability to actually do so, particularly seeing how Facebook still has not managed to produce a search function worth its name (though what they now have is miles better than what they used to have).

Search is key because it is like a questing brain. It forces programmers and engineers to actually work hard with the materials they have and the limitations they face to produce a coherent, clear-cut result that makes sense to a human. It is this which gives Google a distinct advantage in its approach.

Will Facebook ever get near? It remains to be seen. A little real competition might be good not just for Google but also the rest of us. :)
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