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Artificial intelligence

An AI gave a Go champ a head start—and still beat him

January 24, 2018

The Chinese tech firm Tencent has shown that its AI software can school humans at Go.

What’s new: Wired notes that Tencent’s Fine Art AI, built in 2016, recently beat the world’s number-two Go player, Ke Jie, at the ancient board game. That’s despite the fact that Jie was given a two-piece head start.

Backstory: Go is incredibly complex and was once considered a huge AI challenge. Then Google’s AI subsidiary DeepMind famously beat the world’s best players with its AlphaGo software and later developed a self-learning version, called AlphaGo Zero, that is even better

Why it matters: Fine Art’s latest victory is impressive given the head start. But perhaps more important is how it shows that China’s deep commitment to becoming an AI powerhouse is working. It’s catching up with the West, and fast.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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