Chinese AI engineers want to challenge Google's AlphaGo bot

Earlier this month, headlines were made around the world when Google's artificial intelligence, dubbed AlphaGo, was able to beat the current world champion in four out of five matches of the ancient board game Go. Now the bot may have to face an opponent of its own type: a group of Chinese computer engineers have announced that they plan to challenge Google, pitting AlphaGo against their own AI program.

The scientists are part of the China Computer Go team, and the announcement was made at an event hosted by the Chinese Go Association and the Chinese Association for Artificial Intelligence. It was said that the challenge will be made before the end of 2016, but exact details of what that will include weren't mentioned, other that the fact that it will involve the game of Go.

AlphaGo's win over 33-year-old Lee Sedol came as a bit of a surprise, as the Go champion was seen as a much stronger opponent and expected to win, despite the fact that the program had become the world's first AI to defeat a human in the game last year when it bested a professional player.

The game of Go has long been seen as too difficult for computers to play against professional human players. While AI has been successful for years at playing Chess, Go is known to be much more complex, with its numerous strategies requiring human-level intuition.

The other thing that isn't clear is what actual benefit could come from AlphaGo and China's AI facing off against one another — besides bragging rights for China. The purpose of AlphaGo playing against a human world champion was for Google's DeepMind division to test the program's ability to learn and adapt on the fly. Having an AI play against an AI seems rather pointless in that regard.

SOURCE Reuters