Sunday, March 13, 2016

Let It Go

The ancient strategy game of Go originated in Japan over 3000 years ago. Yesterday, in Korea a computer AlphaGo, with high artificial intelligence made world history, by beating one of the best Go players in the world Lee Se-dol, to make it (the computer) the third best player in the world.

Is this a good thing? I don’t know.

The rules of the game are not unlike walling. It starts with an empty flat area. Each player has an effectively unlimited supply of pieces (called stones), one taking the black stones, the other taking white. The main object of the game is to use your stones to form borders and territories by surrounding vacant areas. (or capture your opponent's stones by completely surrounding them)

Players take turns, placing their stones, with Black playing first. Once played stones are not moved. However they may be captured, in which case they are removed from the board, and kept by the capturing player. 

Granted, this sounds like very unfriendly walling. 

It's much nicer to place those stones to make borders and hedge rows to contain sheep or other livestock, and not just covet other waller’s stones. 

Better yet to make sunken gardens and walled enclosures with those stones. Definitely it’s best not to go around stealing your neighbours stones!

The point is, like walling, the game takes a lot of practice and requires a high skill level to do it well. You gotta know the correct place where every stone should go. Otherwise what you're enclosing will get away.

And too, the thing is, the defeat of Lee Se-dol not only spells the beginning of the end of human dominance in the tactical game of Go ( one of the last vestiges of intellectual gaming prowess for mankind ) but possibly, by association with walling, it marks the end of our being able to build dry stone walls without fear of one day being replaced by a machine.

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