Experts say human AI rivalry to boost Go development

Hu Yijing China Plus Published: 2017-11-05 11:27:06
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An AI-Human mixed Go match is held at the 10th Cross-strait Cultural Industries Fair in Xiamen, Fujian Province, November 5, 2017. [Photo: Chinanews.com]

An AI-Human mixed Go match is held at the 10th Cross-strait Cultural Industries Fair in Xiamen, Fujian Province, November 5, 2017. [Photo: Chinanews.com]

Elite Go players and AI designers say they believe that artificial intelligence could, in the long term, bring benefits to the game.

Go was invented some 2,500 years ago in ancient China and is believed to be the oldest board game in the world. It’s a game of territorial acquisition, which involves luck and strategy

Recent years have seen Go-playing artificial intelligence machines pitting their skills against the best human players.

In the latest match, a Taiwan team beat their rivals from the Chinese mainland, at the 10th Cross-strait Cultural Industries Fair (CCIF), currently underway in Xiamen.

Playing the black, World top Go player Wang Licheng cooperated with CGI, a Go-playing artificial intelligence (AI) developed by a research team from Taiwan.

Nie Weiping, vice president of the Chinese Go Association, teams up with AI Go system Tianrang during an AI-Human mixed Go match at the 10th Cross-strait Cultural Industries Fair in Xiamen, Fujian Province, November 5, 2017. [Photo: Chinanews.com]

Nie Weiping, vice president of the Chinese Go Association, teams up with AI Go system Tianrang during an AI-Human mixed Go match at the 10th Cross-strait Cultural Industries Fair in Xiamen, Fujian Province, November 5, 2017. [Photo: Chinanews.com]

Legendary Chinese Go player, Nie Weiping, was assisted by Tianrang, an emerging Shanghai-developed Go-playing system.

Human and AI players took turns to play the game, emphasizing the cooperation between human and AI players.

Nie and his AI partner Tianrang conceded the match after a 237-move competition.

“Tianrang did well at the beginning, but seemed to kind of crash later. CGI, however, started off with some mistakes but did an excellent job afterwards.” said Nie Weiping, vice president of the Chinese Weiqi(Go) Association.

Nie said that AI helps to promote the development of Go industry, which is something that human players can benefit from.

“Forget the result, just to learn from the machines,” noted Master Nie.

Nie’s words were echoed by top Go player Wang Licheng.

“AI has brought us lots of new things. It helps us to have a deeper and further understanding of the Go game,” said Wang. 

The Go-playing elite is expecting more outstanding players to appear and beat the AI programs someday in the future.

Professor Wu Yicheng, leader of CGI’s research team, said that several projects have been launched aimed at assisting human players to better explore the game.

An AI-Human mixed Go match is held at the 10th Cross-strait Cultural Industries Fair in Xiamen, Fujian Province, November 5, 2017. [Photo: China Plus/Chen Lin]

An AI-Human mixed Go match is held at the 10th Cross-strait Cultural Industries Fair in Xiamen, Fujian Province, November 5, 2017. [Photo: China Plus/Chen Lin]

“We are looking for mutual communication; we also hope that what we do can help human Go players to find better ways to play the game, and to learn them quickly,” said Professor Wu from Taiwan’s Chiao Tung University.

“The ultimate goal of computers is to help people, not to fight with people,” added Wu.

According to Dr. Xue Guirong, former chief scientist from China’s internet giant Alibaba and developer of the Go-playing AI Tianrang, “the Go game is only a ‘training place’ for artificial intelligence, and we hope to see the good technology being applied to other industries.”

Xue said his team is now planning to apply AI technologies in advertising and the stock market.

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