For the past week, a mysterious player nicknamed ‘Master’ had been logging onto the Go servers and battling it out with some of the most renowned names in the Go playing community. Even more surprisingly, the player also emerged as the undisputed winner of the 50 or so games it played. Unsurprisingly, people were surprised.

Well, the beans were spilled last night, and by none other than DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis.  Hassabis confirmed that Google’s updated AI platform AlphaGo was the ‘mystery player’ who was giving many established players reason to reconsider their abilities. That’s right, the Master has even managed to defeat Go world champ Ke Jie.

As per Hassabis,

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, and everyone who enjoyed watching the games too! We’re excited by the results and also by what we and the Go community can learn from some of the innovative and successful moves played by the new version of AlphaGo.

For the uninitiated, in March last year, Deep Mind’s AI program Alpha Go had defeated Go world number 2 Lee Sodol hands down.

“After humanity spent thousands of years improving our tactics, computers tell us that humans are completely wrong,” Mr. Ke, 19, wrote on Chinese social media platform Weibo after his defeat. “I would go as far as to say not a single human has touched the edge of the truth of Go.”

Go, a game that has origins from over 2500 years ago, is at its core a two player strategy board game simulating war, wherein the player who captures greater territory is declared the winner. The possible combinations are endless and that’s where lies the beauty of the game.

Naturally, mastering the game’s intricate nuances through artificial intelligence comes as a major breakthrough for the progress of deep learning systems. Alpha Go’s experiments with Go, according to Deep Mind, will help it create further advancements into other AI-intensive fields like energy management and health diagnosis.

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