AlphaGo
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This Go student has become the Go master—and it’s a computer

If Go is mentioned in the US, it’s in the context of complicated games, or hard games, or games with some element of “purity.” It’s just white stones and black stones on a nineteen by nineteen board. You play by putting stones down, not moving them, if you surround your opponent’s stones they are “captured,” and that’s more or less it. Ostensibly, no game could be simpler. But if you’ve ever tried to learn how to play Go, you’ll know it feels a lot more like the spoiled-for-choice paralysis of staring at a blank page The board has 361 spaces,…

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Welcome to the adolescence of AI

Artificial intelligence does not have the cuddliest of reputations. It is either coming for your livelihood or, if movies are to be believed, your life. Google, however, has unearthed a new problem: Its AI is too friendly—much, much too friendly. In early November, the advertising (and search, and web) giant introduced “Smart Reply,” a feature in its Inbox app that could automatically reply to basic emails. “Machine learning is used to scan emails and understand if they need replying to or not, before creating three response options,” Wired’s James Temperton explained. He continued: “An email asking about vacation plans, for…

deep
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What is #DeepDream and why is everyone getting so weird with it?

To answer your question, Mr. Dick, yes, androids do dream of electric sheep. Or, at least, artificial intelligence does. And it’s less sheep and more like an insectoid nightmare of sheep as seen through a faint kaleidoscopic filter. We are fascinated and disturbed, Mr. Dick, but the future isn’t quite as horrendous as you might have thought it to be. Not yet. Look! Here’s another of these strange machine dreams, this time featuring US president Andrew Jackson’s portrait on the $20 bill morphed into an arachnid’s face. Another! This time of one of the most iconic images of 9/11, yet the…