The creator of a mysterious artificial intelligence (AI) that has beaten some of the world’s best human players at the Chinese board game Go over the last few days has been revealed as Google DeepMind.
Demis Hassabis, the cofounder and CEO of Google DeepMind, tweeted a screenshot of a DeepMind update that stated: “We’ve been hard at work improving AlphaGo, and over the past few days we’ve played some unofficial online games at fast time controls with our new prototype version, to check that it’s working as well as we hoped.
“We thank everyone who played our accounts Magister (P) and Master (P) on the Tygem and FoxGo servers.”
Hassabis’s announcement came within hours of a Business Insider story reporting that people were keen to know who was behind the Master AI.
“This whole thing is just really cool,” wrote Reddit user Open_Thinker. “I hope we learn who the author(s) are soon.”
The anonymous AI had beaten more than 50 top Go players and some Reddit users were speculating that it could be world Go champion Lee Sedol in disguise. But others were quick to point out that not even the best human Go players could perform as well as the Master AI was performing. “It seems highly unlikely that any known human player could amass that record,” wrote one Reddit user.
So a mysterious AI, ‘Master’, is trouncing top Go players online 50-0, likely superhuman, and no one knows who created it. How cyberpunk.
— gwern (@gwern) January 4, 2017
Go is a complex game that has been notoriously difficult for computers to crack because of the sheer number of potential moves. It is a two-player turn-based strategy game where each player puts down either black or white stones in an attempt to outmaneuver and surround the other player. It’s easy to pick up but takes years to master.
Last year, DeepMind’s AlphaGo AI managed to defeat Sedol over a five game tournament. After the opening game, Demis Hassabis, the cofounder and CEO of DeepMind, said in a press statement: “What an incredibly exciting game. Lee Sedol is a formidable opponent, famed for his fighting style, and AlphaGo decided to go toe-to-toe with him, which made for a tense, close-fought game. We still have four games to go, so anything can still happen. Whatever the outcome, we feel this match is a testament to the power of human ingenuity.”
— Demis Hassabis (@demishassabis) January 4, 2017