Samsung Electronics Co. is "actively looking" to acquire developers of artificial intelligence and other software as the world's biggest smartphone maker tries to overcome flat-lining sales for its devices. Samsung, which has 61 billion in cash and equivalents, wants to morph into more of a software-driven company, Executive Vice President Rhee In Jong said in an interview. The South Korean consumer-electronics giant also is spending more to develop its own services because the global market for gadgets is saturated and can't be counted on for significant revenue growth, he said. "We are actively looking for M&A targets of all sorts in the software area," said Rhee, who runs the mobile division's software research-and-development business. "We are open to all possibilities, including artificial intelligence.
Go looks simple, deceptively so. The Chinese board game is played on a board with a grid of 19x19 lines. The object is for two players to alternately place black and white markers on vacant intersections of those lines. And now, this nearly 3,000-year-old board game is a frontier of Artificial Intelligence development. At the time of writing, Google's DeepMind AI's AlphaGo program has played four games of a five game series against Go world champion, South Korea's Lee se-Dol.
In Seoul, South Korea, a Google-created artificial intelligence has been squaring off against a mortal man in the 2,500-year-old strategy game, called Go, that's several orders of magnitude more complicated than chess. When it was finally over, Google's AlphaGo won four out of five matchups, making AlphaGo a role model for young artificial intelligences everywhere. Wired reported that "AlphaGo relies on deep neural networks--networks of hardware and software that mimic the web of neurons in the human brain. With these neural nets, it can learn tasks by analyzing massive amounts of digital data." That's bad news for SEOs the world over, because Google isn't just using neural nets to beat Koreans at board games, it's also using these advanced networks to make their search results more efficient.
First went checkers, then fell chess. Now, a computer program has defeated the world's top player in the ancient east Asian board game of Go -- a major milestone for artificial intelligence that brings to a close the era of board games as benchmarks in computing. At the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul, Google DeepMind's AlphaGo capped a 3-0 week on Saturday against Lee Sedol, a giant of the game. Lee and AlphaGo were to play again Sunday and Tuesday, but with AlphaGo having already clinched victory in the five-game match, the results are in and history has been made. It was a feat that experts had thought was still years away.
On a chilly March afternoon last year in the South Korean capital Seoul, a computer algorithm made history. A program called AlphaGo beat the reigning human world champion at go, an ancient Chinese board game considered to be one of the most complex pastimes man has ever devised. The game has remained an inviolably human pursuit for centuries, and one of the hardest challenges for artificial intelligence (AI) because of the vast number of possible moves -- more than the number of atoms in the universe -- and the need to employ creativity to win. In Seoul's Four Seasons hotel, AlphaGo's victory over five games was ruthless: Lee Sedol, the 33-year-old human go grandmaster, lost 4-1. At a press conference afterwards, he said with a trace of wonder: "Today, I am speechless."