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New tech meets the oldest game

New tech meets the oldest game? Yes we are speaking about AI and the board game Go which has about 4000 years of documented history behind it.

Once upon a time, things were clear. When you wanted to do mechanical things, you used technology. When you needed to think, you called upon the service of fellow humans.

Today, the distinction is not so clear. Google search is essentially a librarians’ work. But tech has taken search to unprecedented levels. Humans once decided which emails were spam; today, algorithms do it far more efficiently. “What should you buy or what should you wear?” was always a quintessential human question. Until AI decided it could help us here too.

All of this came to mind when Anand C sent me this superb year-old video of a momentous occasion.

DeepMind – an AI program, took on Lee Seedol, a legendary player of the world’s oldest board game, “GO.” Was AI about to eclipse 4000 years of human ingenuity?

This 2019 documentary is a must-watch. It runs for an hour and super thrilling to watch. . Who wins – man or machine? And how does the future look?

A few thoughts come to mind.

  1. AI is excellent in supporting us to do stuff. Where it complements, it should be encouraged,
  2. Part of the magic in stuff like sport is the emotion. A wrong move may create an outburst of anger and cascading performance – and just as likely, some sheer genius may arise out of practically nothing. Who cannot appreciate a Virat Kohli or Djokovic coming out blazing and achieving the seemingly impossible? Sports at the highest level are mind games – perfection in skill combined with incredible mental powers driven by emotions. Take the emotions out, and where are?
  3. I recently checked my Gmail and realized there were tons of emails Gmail had automatically classified as spam etc., and moved into appropriate folders automatically. This is very convenient. But also very expensive for the environment. Think of these tons of emails sitting on our servers unread but powered by our fossil fuels. In the olden days, we would have deleted them. Indeed, Hey email now has such a feature for its “feed’. This is the other danger that automatically tech poses – significant wastage that we are not aware of.

These are heady topics, and there’s more grey than black and white. But asking ourselves two questions before we engage with Automated tech is a great idea:

  1. Are we sacrificing some part of our cognitive/ emotional aspect, and will the sacrifice be worth the outcome?
  2. Where are the blind spots, and how can we become more aware of them?

What do you think?

Dont interesting things happen when New tech meets the oldest game?

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  1. Subra, certain things where AI is being used are for human convenience. which is good. Regarding fossil fuel argument, it could be converted to renewal energy (not solar as that according to me hits the environment.
    But things like sports, it is a emotional affair for humans where AI will eventually win. just like the video shows about 300 attempts to 500 attempts. There is no fun in it.

    The same goes for war, the better provisioned team will get an advantage. All competitive stuffs are like games. It depends on which side we are rooting for

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