After Demolishing Lee Sedol, Google DeepMind AI Targets World Number 1 Go Player

Wondering what's next for AlphaGo, the computer that bested South Korea's Lee Sedol, the world champion in the ancient Chinese board game Go? The artificial intelligence program developed from Google's DeepMind division will go up against Ke Jie, China's top Go grandmaster, sometime in March of next year.

This is something the Chinese Go Association wanted to see happen so it got in contact with Google and its AlphaGo team and discussed a possible match. Google returned the interest, and so the two sides will arrange the match and accompanying details this year, assuming nothing unforeseen gets in the way.


Ke Jie is an 18-year-old prodigy with all the confidence you'd expect from a young person. During AlphaGo's matches with Lee Sedol, in which Google's A.I. dispatched its opponent by winning the first three of five games and four of five overall, Ke Jie wrote on his microblog account that he would be able to beat the computer.

As the matches progressed, Ke Jie conceded that he may have underestimated AlphaGo, which was dominating in its performance, but maintained that he has the advantage. LIke Sedol, he'll get his chance to find out.

Sergey Brin and Lee Sedol
Google co-founder Sergey Brin (R) with Lee Sedol (C)

AlphaGo's match against Lee Sedol was the first time a computer had gone up against a highly-skilled Go player. For their effort, the team behind AlphaGo took home a $1 million prize, which they donated to STEM societies and UNICEF, among other organizations.

"While games are the perfect platform for developing and testing AI algorithms quickly and efficiently, ultimately we want to apply these techniques to important real-world problems," Google said of AlphaGo and its DeepMind division. "Because the methods we’ve used are general-purpose, our hope is that one day they could be extended to help us address some of society’s toughest and most pressing problems, from climate modeling to complex disease analysis."

But first, AlphaGo has at least one more high profile match in its future.