Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Web Secret 494: AlphaGo Zero
In a major breakthrough for artificial intelligence, AlphaGo Zero took just three days to master the ancient Chinese board game of Go ... with no human help.
Let me repeat: Google’s AI group, DeepMind, unveiled the latest incarnation of its Go playing program, AlphaGo – an AI so powerful that it derived thousands of years of human knowledge of the game before inventing better moves of its own, all in the space of three days.
The feat marks a milestone on the road to general-purpose AIs. Because AlphaGo Zero learns on its own from a blank slate, its talents can now be turned to a host of real-world problems.
At DeepMind, AlphaGo Zero is working out how proteins fold, a massive scientific challenge that could give drug discovery a sorely needed shot in the arm.
As an article in the Guardian pointed out, "While AlphaGo Zero is a step towards a general-purpose AI, it can only work on problems that can be perfectly simulated in a computer, making tasks such as driving a car out of the question. AIs that match humans at a huge range of tasks are still a long way off... More realistic in the next decade is the use of AI to help humans discover new drugs and materials, and crack mysteries in particle physics."
And now you know.