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The Sadness and Beauty of Watching Google’s AI Play Go (wired.com)
40 points by shutterstock on Mar 12, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 15 comments

This may be off topic, but I dislike Wired's new approach to adBlockers. I use Privacy Badger as my only adBlocker because I am fine with viewing adds if they don't track me. Wired's approach just means I refresh the page, select all the text and copy it into my text editor. Which is a shame because if they would just display non-tracking ads I would happily view them. The way things are going now if they ever make circumventing their restrictions to burdensome, I may stop reading their articles, but I will not allow their ads to track me.

Huh, I run AdBlocker or something and don't see any ads. I just give up on sites that do what wired does, the content will show up somewhere else.

I used to feel guilty about it, people need to make a living, but the tracking is creepy in the extreme and the ads got to be pretty invasive. If they made ads that were fun or funny or insightful or had some value, that's different, but they just seem annoying to me.

Just turn off Javascript in your browser.

when I think about AI, I'm always reminded about glitches. For example, finding a weird behavior that can be exploited in a video game to beat a boss easily. It's one principle difference between playing other people and the cpu: humans are able to evolve their strategies, experiment, etc.

For the AI to really be the best, it must sometimes lose because it's trying a new strategy and experimenting. It also must be robust and find the error of its way easily -- in other words, know quickly that it's being gamed.

AI must be able to reprogram itself, or it's only a matter of time before a winning strategy comes out against it. If it can't reprogram itself and evolve without humans is it really AI?

> ... it must sometimes lose ...

Well, yea. In training, AlphaGo played against itself, and lost every one of those games. (Incidentally, it also won every one.)

In some contexts, sure, humans will adjust their strategy when someone finds a weakness to exploit against us. Other times, not so much. Ask any casino or the folks over at King/Zynga. Objectively, walking into one of those games is expected to be a losing strategy, but we've continued to do it for hundreds of years. In other contexts like chess and Super Mario, maybe we do better.

But if we make a general purpose AI that can adapt against any discovered winning strategies instead of falling into repeatedly losing, it won't be our equal. It will have surpassed us.

Only a certain percentage of people are addicted to gambling. For many, it's a simple calculus of the entertainment value. If 45 minutes of playing penny slots is worth the 10 bucks or whatever then they do it. I do agree with your general thesis though, there's definitely some areas where our logical abilities short circuit.

What if the video game AI decides that losing a boss fight by getting stabbed repeatedly by a player who glitched through a wall is totally hilarious and more fun that fighting? Bug? Or just an AI doing AI things?

We have squishier heuristics for what "winning" is compared to AlphaGo, and that seems likely to stay true for the foreseeable future of specialized AIs. But someday it might not.

"For the AI to really be the best, it must sometimes lose because it's trying a new strategy and experimenting"

It can also let the experimenting to its opponents and learn from that. That largely is what humans do, too. Generals plan for the last war, and the students who aren't challenged tend to learn badly or not at all.

And, apparently, the Google AI for go would learn from losing games. Whether it would learn enough to eventually beat (or at least tie) every possible strategy thrown at it, afaik is an open question.

Human cognitive biases are easy to exploit too.

Intelligence is in the eye of the beholder.

I think the only ones that are "sad" are those who saw Go very philosophically, like if it was more then just a game with set rules that can be computed.

A rather sweeping statement about the way other people think (apologies for being argumentative). In any case I'm sad because it is another frontier put beyond the reach of the human mind.

Science fiction lied to us. It is science fantasy. A fantasy where you have human away parties and depictions of human agency roughly analagous (albeit glamourized) to the role we have always had bringing history up to this point.

Some people value human agency (1) and the human condition and want to preserve it almost for ecological reasons - it is the world we know, and the only one with meaning. Others I think fear death or hate injustice and (optimistically) see technology as a way to solve all these problems once and for all. Human (2) pride be damned (3).

1) possibly mainly white men, since we apparently have more of it

2) (White male)

3) Sweeping blanket statement I know. Sorry for the identity politics bit too, but you cannot really say anything on the human condition without someone saying or thinking that is is a different affair for other people.

Right, just as the sadness of seeing a notepad and pen beat human memory.

Agreed. Ancient Grecian bards once memorized the Oddessey forwards, backwards, and skipping every third word to ensure integrity. At that time, writing was thought of as dulling the mind.

Speaking of Greek stories, Paris shooting Achilles is another classic one of technology defeating technique.

This has been a bittersweet human story for a very long time.

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