A Major Milestone in the History of Artificial Intelligence



The list of games where AI has surpassed the best humans is growing—from Deep Blue defeating Garry Kasparov at chess in 1997, IBM’s Watson defeating two of the world’s best Jeopardy! champions in 2011, the defeat of Leo Sedol by AlphaGo in 2016 and most recently, an AI developed by computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University.

A new paper published in Nature today describes how the AI system that defeated Go grandmaster Lee Sedol in 2016 was crushed by a new and improved version of itself. Meet - AlphaGo Zero (AGZ). 

After just three days of self-play training, AGZ defeated the previously published version of AlphaGo by 100 games to 0. After 40 days of self training, AGZ became even stronger, outperforming the version of AlphaGo known as “Master”, which has defeated the world's best players and world number one Ke Jie. AGZ also discovered new knowledge, developing unconventional strategies and creative new moves that echoed and surpassed the novel techniques it played in the games against Lee Sedol and Ke Jie.

As the DeepMind researchers conclude in their study, “these moments of creativity give us confidence that AI will be a multiplier for human ingenuity, helping us with our mission to solve some of the most important challenges humanity is facing. While it is still early days, if similar techniques can be applied to other structured problems, such as protein folding, reducing energy consumption or searching for revolutionary new materials, the resulting breakthroughs have the potential to positively impact society.”