American Go E-Journal

Go Spotting: GOD, HUMAN, ANIMAL, MACHINE: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning

Thursday August 26, 2021

“Imagine sitting down to a game of Go,” writes Becca Rothfeld in The New York Times, “not in a cafe or a park, where you could banter with your adversary or discuss strategy with onlookers, but alone in front of a screen. Your opponent is not a person but an algorithm, AlphaGo, a program created by Google’s machine-learning subsidiary, DeepMind. Squinting into the cool glare of your monitor, you manipulate digital pieces. You touch nothing tangible: You are unable to scrutinize the expressions of your faceless competitor.”

“These, roughly, are the strange and surgical circumstances under which Lee Sedol, one of the best Go players in the world, was vanquished in a best-of-five match in 2016,” Rothfeld writes. “As the essayist and cultural critic Meghan O’Gieblyn reports in her nimble new book, ‘God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning,’ one former Go champion watched the game and exclaimed that AlphaGo’s winning maneuver was “not a human move.” Read the rest of the review here.

Thanks to Ted Terpstra for sending this in.

Categories: Go Spotting,Main Page