Deep Mind's AlphaGo beats Go champion Lee Sedol in artificial intelligence milestone

Lynsey Barber
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Deep Mind beat Lee Sedol (centre) in a match attended by Google's Demis Hassabis and Eric Schmidt (Source: Getty)

Google's Deepmind has triumphed over the champion player of the ancient Chinese game Go in a nail biting match, signalling a major milestone in the development of artificial intelligence.

Google's AlphaGo was put to the test in the first of a series of games against one of the world's best players, Lee Sedol, in Seoul early this morning. The closely fought battle was won by AlphaGo after taking a late lead against Sedol.

While computers have trounced humans before in games such as chess, Atari and Jeopardy, the 2,500 year-old game Go presents one of the "grand challenges" of AI due to its complexity.

"Go is the most profound game that mankind has ever devised," said Deep Mind founder Demis Hassabis ahead of the tournament. "The elegantly simple rules lead to beautiful complexity. Go is a game primarily about intuition and feel rather than brute calculation which is what makes it so hard for computers to play well."

It was revealed that AlphaGo had beaten its first human Go player earlier this year, after a match against the European champion. Today's test was a much tougher one against Sedol, who has been called the Roger Federer of the chess-like game.

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