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Peng Peng / AP

The world's best player of Go (the world's most complicated board game) was roundly defeated by a Google program called AlphaGo in the first game of their three-game match this week, per the NYT.

Why it's so complicated: Go has an incalculable number of possible moves, meaning that a supercomputer can't simply crunch the numbers. Instead, AlphaGo uses artificial intelligence to learn new techniques each time it plays — even learning more by playing against itself. Because Go has been played for thousands of years, AlphaGo's unorthodox moves can ruffle grandmasters like Ke Jie, the world's best player.

What's next: Ke defeated AlphaGo last year, but said now that it's "improving too fast," calling it "a different player this year compared to last year." Google hopes to transfer AlphaGo's exponential learning success to other applications, like scientific research and medical diagnoses.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.

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