Go World Champion Retires After Realizing He Can’t Beat AI

Lee Sedol Go retire
Credits: Wired

Go is one of the most complex abstract strategy games which involves surrounding more territory than your opponent to win the game. Lee Sedol is the world champion of the Go game and has bagged #2 position in international titles.

In March 2016, Lee Sedol competed against Google’s AI-based AlphaGo program and lost four out of five matches to the AI. Sedol was shocked after the defeat and said, “I don’t know how to start or what to say today, but I think I would have to express my apologies first. I do apologize for not being able to satisfy a lot of people’s expectations. I kind of felt powerless.

The defeat at the hands of Google’s AI impacted Sedol to the extent that he has now announced his retirement from the game as he believes that he cannot defeat AI.

This is just one example of Google’s AI beating humans. The list of AlphaGo’s opponents includes China’s Ke Jie who got defeated back in 2017.

As reported by Yonhap News Agency, Sedol has filed his resignation to Korea Baduk Association (KBA), the agency that regulates Go players in South Korea.

Speaking to Yonhap, Sedol said, “With the debut of AI in Go games, I’ve realized that I’m not at the top even if I become the number one through frantic efforts. Even if I become the number one, there is an entity that cannot be defeated.”

Another reason he cited for his resignation is his disagreement with KBA over how the organization uses membership fees.

To celebrate his 24-year long career, Sedol will play one last game of Go against HanDol, an AI-based Go-playing software developed by South Korean company NHN Entertainment.

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Anmol Sachdeva

Anmol Sachdeva

Anmol is a tech journalist who handles reportage of cybersecurity and Apple and OnePlus devices at Fossbytes. He's an ambivert who is striving hard to appease existential crisis by eating, writing, and scrolling through memes.
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