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August 19, 2017

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China has even banned live-streaming Go games between a champion and a computer

AlphaGo was developed by London-based AI company DeepMind Technologies, which Google acquired in 2014.

Its win last year over South Korean grandmaster Lee Se-Dol marked the first time a computer program had beaten a top player in a full contest and was hailed as a landmark for AI.

Ke, who last year said he would never lose to a machine, accepted defeat after game one, calling AlphaGo a "Go god."

For some, AI advances conjure sci-fi images of machines enslaving humanity.

But for AI proponents, AlphaGo's feats have fueled visions of AI that can not only perform mundane tasks, but potentially help mankind figure out some of the most complex scientific, technical and medical problems.

Computer programs have previously beaten humans in cerebral contests, starting with the victory by IBM's Deep Blue over chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in 1997.

But AlphaGo's success is considered the most significant yet for AI due to the complexity of Go, which has an incomputable number of move options and puts a premium on human-like "intuition."

Go involves two players alternately laying black and white stones on a grid, seeking to seal off the most territory.

AlphaGo's "thinking" is powered by millions of connections similar to neurons in the brain. It is partly self-taught, having played millions of games against itself.

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