According to The New York Times, champion Go player Ke Jie was just defeated in the first match of a three-game series against AlphaGo, a computer program designed by Google to play the centuries-old Chinese board game. This is particularly notable because Go is famously complex, and Ke Jie himself says that AlphaGo is becoming so advanced that it has gone from “humanlike” to being more “like a god” in the past year. In fact, Go players are reportedly changing up their strategies to reflect the “unorthodox” way that AlphaGo behaves, and Ke Jie says he’s going to go back to playing human competitors because the computer is more of a “teacher” than a fair competitor now.
This is, of course, the latest salvo in the ongoing war between man and machine. But rather than cowering in fear or kneeling before the dominance of AlphaGo, Deep Blue, Watson, and all of the other computers intent on literally beating us at our own games, it’s time for us to start fighting back. An artificial intelligence may be able to instantly calculate every possible move in a board game, but there’s one thing that these robots can’t do: cheat. A computer can’t flip the board when it’s going to lose, a computer can’t look at the trivia questions beforehand and memorize the answers, and a computer can’t reshuffle a deck of cards when nobody’s looking.
Ke Jie will play two more matches against AlphaGo this week, one on Thursday and another on Saturday, and if he’s really serious about taking a stand for our species, he’s going to have to do everything he can to beat this machine in the way that only a human can. After all, AlphaGo can’t play if it’s unplugged or if someone spills water all over its precious circuits. It may not prove that a human can outsmart or outplay the AI, but nobody’s going to care who was the better player when Judgment Day comes and the Terminators take over. Also, maybe companies like Google should just stop developing programs that are better than humans at stuff. That would go a long way toward preventing the robot apocalypse.