Korean Go master quits the game because AI 'cannot be defeated'

Yolanda Curtis
November 29, 2019

Lee Se-dol, a former Go champion, has announced his retirement, declaring that artificial intelligence has created an opponent that "cannot be defeated".

In 2016 Lee lost a set of matches against AlphaGo, an artificial intelligence developed by DeepMind, a Google-owned company.

In 2016, he took part in a five-match showdown against AlphaGo, losing four times but beating the computer once.

"With the debut of AI in Go games, I've realized that I'm not at the top even if I become the number one through frantic efforts", Lee told Yonhap in his most recent interview.

In a statement published by The Verge, DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis said Se-dol demonstrated "true warrior spirit" in his matchup with AlphaGo.

AlphaGo was developed by Deepmind.

The game of Go originated in China more than 2,500 years ago.

He developed a white wedge between blacks at the center. Whoever captures the most territory wins.

Dating back more than 2,500 years to China, Go is considered one of the most complex board games in the world, and AlphaGo's mastery brought new attention to the rapid advancement of AI technology.

A player typically has a choice of 200 moves, compared with about 20 in chess - and there are more possible positions in Go than atoms in the universe, according to researchers.

Deepmind hopes that the development of AlphaGo will lead to "similar techniques" that can be "applied to other structured problems, such as protein folding, reducing energy consumption or searching for revolutionary new materials".

In December, despite his retirement and as a commemoration to his career, Lee is due to play Go against another AI system, HanDol, which has already defeated the top five South Korean Go Players.

The South Korean is an 18-time world champion and considered one of the greatest Go players of the modern age - but was beaten 4-1 by DeepMind's AlphaGo software.

Lee, who will be given a two stone advantage, expects that he will still lose.

"Even with a two-stone benefit, I really feel like I'll lose the primary recreation to HanDol", Lee instructed Yonhap.

"I rarely read comments on Internet news about me. I wished to play comfortably towards HanDol as I've already retired, although I'll do my finest".

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