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Go Champion Fan Hui Apologizes, Zuckerberg Congratulates Google’s DeepMind Team For ‘Historic Milestone In AI Research’

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On Saturday, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg congratulated Google’s AlphaGo artificial intelligence team just hours after their AI defeated Lee Sedol, a world renowned Go player, in the third consecutive game of a five-game match in South Korea.

Both Google and Facebook have been working tirelessly in the AI sector and have been constant competitors, too. Apparently, Facebook is also training a software to play Go via the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) team. It seems, though, that Facebook’s attempt at a computer Go player is still a few miles away from Google’s.

Google’s AI had previously beaten French Go champion Fan Hui but as the popularity of the board game is much higher in South Korea and Sedol seems to be a sort of grandmaster in the front, the latest development is a huge achievement for the AlphaGo team. Following his third consecutive defeat, Sedol apologized for not being able to perform better.

He said in a press conference after the third game:

I don’t know how to start or what to say today, but I think I would have to express my apologies first. I should have shown a better result, a better outcome, and better content in terms of the game played, and I do apologize for not being able to satisfy a lot of people’s expectations. I kind of felt powerless. If I look back on the three matches, the first one, even if I were to go back and redo the first match, I think that I would not have been able to win, because I at that time misjudged the capabilities of AlphaGo. The second match, I think, would have been the make or break.

If you look at the beginning of the second match, the game did flow the way that I have intended, and there were a [number of opportunities] which I admittedly missed. Looking at the third match, yes, I do have extensive experience in terms of playing the game of Go, but there was never a case as this as such that I felt this amount of pressure. So I was incapable of overcoming the amount of pressure that I was experiencing.

And lastly, since I lost the third match, there is now a clear winner. However, when it comes to human beings, there is a psychological aspect that one has to also think about. So as I play the fourth and fifth match, I do ask that you continue to show interest and follow what happens.

His apology clearly stands to show how big the news is for Google or for any other group working in the AI research front. Google also has major reasons to boast now about its AI capabilities.

Zuck wrote:

Congrats to the Google DeepMind team on this historic milestone in AI research — a third straight victory over Go grandmaster Lee Sedol. We live in exciting times.

Just hours after Zuck’s words of praise, FAIR head Yann LeCun also congratulated Google for its achievement. He wrote:

Congrats to the DeepMind AlphaGo team for this Grand Slam.

Now, can you do it purely through reinforcement learning, without pre-training the convolutional net on recorded games between humans?

There hasn’t been any official word when the Facebook’s AI will be ready for showcasing but it will be a spectacular view to behold these two AIs competing against each other.


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