At the beginning of the year, we wrote about Alphabet’s [NASDAQ: GOOG] acquisition of a British artificial intelligence (AI) startup called DeepMind. DeepMind made headlines last year when its AlphaGo program defeated the champion go player Lee Sedol of South Korea, then the second-ranked go player in the world. It has since defeated the world’s top player, although only in informal online play.
AlphaGo showcases DeepMind’s transformative approach to AI: machine learning that emulates human learning. Traditional approaches to computer chess, for example, rely on brute force – working out all the permutations of possible future moves to identify the most promising next move to make. That approach is limited because the number of permutations gets so large as the program looks more and more moves ahead. It’s even more limited with the game of go because there are so much more possible moves than there are in chess. The ‘decision tree’ quickly gets far too large to exhaustively examine and evaluate. That’s why until last year, most experts thought it would be decades before a computer program could compete with world-class go masters. They were waiting for new hardware that could crunch the numbers faster. But DeepMind delivered with revolutionary software instead.
This post was published at FinancialSense on 03/27/2017.