“It isn’t looking good for humanity.”
That’s how the New York Times article on AlphaGo defeating Chinese Go Grandmaster Ke Jie began. A year after AlphaGo’s convincing victory of Lee Sedol in Seoul, DeepMind’s artificial intelligence software also brought the world’s number one player to his knees.
Considering Mr. Ke’s public remarks before that AlphaGo can’t beat him, this victory adds more fuel to the public fear that artificial intelligence will begin to replace human labor in more aspects of life.
But putting dystopian fears and universal basic income discussions aside, AlphaGo’s victory provided a glimpse at the future of creativity, a future driven by machine intelligence.
Extracting and Discovering New Knowledge with Artificial Intelligence
Perhaps blinded by the effects of automation as a result of the growing adoption of machine intelligence, we often forget the promise and potential of artificial intelligence: the ability to extract and discover new knowledge. One understated achievement of AlphaGo is proving that machines can, in fact, be creative. See the following excerpts from NYT and DeepMind’s coverage of the event [emphasis mine]:
“AlphaGo…has already pushed assumptions about just how creative a computer program can be. Since last year, when it defeated a highly ranked South Korean player at Go, it changed the way the top masters played the game. Players have praised the technology’s ability to make unorthodox moves and challenge assumptions core to a game that draws on thousands of years of tradition.” — NYT
The emphasis on creativity is echoed by DeepMind’s thoughts on this milestone:
“The creative moves it played against the legendary Lee Sedol in Seoul in 2016 brought completely new knowledge to the Go world, while the unofficial online games it played under the moniker Magister (Master) earlier this year have influenced many of Go’s leading professionals –…