Google's Artificial Intelligence can now teach itself to beat humans at complex games without using knowledge given to it by human developers. AlphaZero, the game-playing AI created by Google sibling DeepMind, is able to master games like chess, shogi and Go just by reading the rule book. The'superhuman' computer program teaches itself to play these games with no prior knowledge except each game's rules. A study, led by American Association for the Advancement of science, shows that the program was able to teach itself the intricacies of each game until mastered. Google's AlphaZero has defeated one of the best chess programs in the world after learning the game from scratch in just four hours.
News of a specialized computer program beating human champions at games like chess and Go might not surprise people as much as it might have before, as it did when Deep Blue beat world chess champ Garry Kasparov back in 1997, or even more recently when Google DeepMind's AI AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol in a stunning upset back in 2016.
Computers can beat humans at increasingly complex games, including chess and Go. However, these programs are typically constructed for a particular game, exploiting its properties, such as the symmetries of the board on which it is played. Silver et al. developed a program called AlphaZero, which taught itself to play Go, chess, and shogi (a Japanese version of chess) (see the Editorial, and the Perspective by Campbell). AlphaZero managed to beat state-of-the-art programs specializing in these three games. The ability of AlphaZero to adapt to various game rules is a notable step toward achieving a general game-playing system.