In just four hours, Google’s artificial intelligence technology did something that many people spend their lives trying to accomplish: it became the ultimate Chessmaster.
Most of us consider chess to be a challenging game, but Google’s AI, named AlphaZero, accumulated all the knowledge in the world in under four hours before it defeated the prevailing champion.
The New Overlord Of Chess
AI has caused excitement among some and fear among others, but we all know that it’s getting closer than ever to becoming a reality.
AlphaZero is Google’s latest evolution of AI, and one of the first ways they decided to test it was pitting it against the reigning world champion chess program, Stockfish.
The two competing technologies were given 100 games to battle each other, and AlphaZero came away with a total of 28 wins with the remaining 72 games being a draw.
What’s most remarkable about AlphaZero’s performance is that it was not given any chess strategies whatsoever, only the rules of the game.
“We now know who our new overlord is,” said David Kramaley, a chess researcher and the CEO of chess science website Chessable.
The Potential Applications Of AlphaZero
Society has lofty expectations for AI with some people thinking that it will be the solution to mankind’s many problems i.e. war, disease, and death.
While some aren’t quite as optimistic, the sheer ability of such AI is truly mind-bending and it goes far beyond chess.
“It will no doubt revolutionize the game, but think about how this could be applied outside chess,” said Kramaley. “This algorithm could run cities, continents, universes.”
AI Is Like An Alien Species
Some of the greatest minds in the world are fascinated by AI, and their observations are enlightening.
“What we’re seeing here is a model free from human bias and presuppositions,” said Nick Hynes, a computer scientist from MIT. “It can learn whatever it determines is optimal, which may indeed be more nuanced than our own conceptions of the same.”
Hynes likened AlphaZero to an “alien civilization” that can invent its own mathematics. Grandmaster of chess Peter Heine Nielsen made some very similar comments when responding to AlphaZero’s accomplishment.
“I always wondered how it would be if a superior species landed on Earth and showed us how they played chess,” said Neilsen. “Now I know.”
Artificial intelligence is here, and it seems to be as equally amazing as it is terrifying!