Go humans! The world’s best Go player wants a shot at Google’s undefeated AlphaGo AI

Here we Go.
Here we Go.
Image: AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon
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Google’s artificial intelligence program AlphaGo has already taken down the best European Go player, and swiftly beat Lee Se-dol, a player considered to be one of the best Go players of all time. But that doesn’t seem to faze Ke Jie.

Ke Jie, who is only 18, is the reigning top-ranked Go player in the world, and he’s agreed to play the AI program at the ancient board game. According to Ars Technica, Ke said on his Weibo account in March: “Even if AlphaGo can defeat Lee Se-dol, it can’t beat me.”

Ke had initially refused to play AlphaGo, as he didn’t want the system to learn his style of play—AlphaGo learns and improves by playing games against humans, simulations, and itself, to understand new ways to play the game. But Ke has since changed his mind. As Chinese news agency Xinhua reported June 6 (Chinese), Ke recently agreed to play against AlphaGo, in what may be humanity’s last real hope for superiority over artificial intelligence. (Quartz has reached out to Google to confirm the match.)

The two parties have yet to agree a time or location. Perhaps in the eventual matchup, Google can use one of its many robots to move AlphaGo’s pieces around, and make it a proper man-versus-machine battle.

Ke dialed back on the hubris after AlphaGo took a commanding lead against Sedol. As Ars points out, Ke admitted after the third game between the computer and Lee Sedol: “AlphaGo was perfect and made no mistake. If the conditions are the same, it is highly likely that I can lose.”

But it seems that he’s changed his mind again, now that he’s decided to take on AlphaGo himself. If there’s one thing that Arnold Schwarzenegger movies from the 1980s taught us, it’s that we must not let our guard down against technology. Hopefully Ke retains his humility when he takes on AlphaGo.