In March of last year, Google's (Menlo Park, California) artificial intelligence (AI) computer program AlphaGo beat the best Go player in the world, 18-time champion Lee Se-dol, in a tournament, winning 4 of 5 games.1 At first glance this news would seem of little interest to a pathologist, or to anyone else for that matter. After all, many will remember that IBM's (Armonk, New York) computer program Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov--at the time the greatest chess player in the world--and that was 19 years ago. The rules of the several-thousand-year-old game of Go are extremely simple. The board consists of 19 horizontal and 19 vertical black lines.
Despite losing at chess to the IBM Deep Blue computer more than 20 years ago, Garry Kasparov is a big believer in artificial intelligence. The former world chess champion is now an author and speaker who is trying to counter some of the more alarmist beliefs over the rise of AI technologies, typically exemplified in Hollywood movies in which robots rise against their human creators. Speaking at the Train AI conference on Thursday in San Francisco, Kasparov explained how humanity has long considered people's performance in playing a game of chess as a metric of intelligence. "People looked at it as an opportunity to go deep in the human mind," he said of chess. That's why when Kasparov lost to Deep Blue in 1997 in a rematch from a prior match he won in 1996 -- which, he likes to note, "nobody remembers" -- people considered it a "watershed moment" for computer science.
In a feat reminiscent of the controversial victory by supercomputer'Deep Blue' over world chess champion Garry Kasparov, a computer program has managed to beat a string of professional poker players at the game. DeepStack, as it was called, defeated 10 out of 11 players who took part in a total of 3,000 games as part of a scientific study into artificial intelligence. The 11th player also lost, but by a margin that the researchers decided was not large enough to be statistically significant. This is not the first time a computer has won at poker. Libratus, a program developed by Carnegie Mellon University academics, won $1.76m (£1.4m) from professionals in January, for example.