China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported on July 29 that an AI-driven Go-playing robot from tech giant SenseTime (商汤科技, HK:0020) had beaten Go master and world champion Chen Yaoye.
The defeat is reminiscent of the epic victory of AlphaGo over Go grandmaster Lee Sedol in a 2016 game, sparking a frenzy over AI’s capabilities while also inspiring fears about its threat to humankind.
During Chen’s duel with SenseRobot, a chess- and Go-playing desktop robot developed by SenseTime, he started strong but later yielded more and more ground to the robotic opponent.
After 100 minutes of playing, Chen admitted defeat since his pieces on the playboard were all cornered and he could not make more moves.
Chen told media that the opposition gave him a lot of pressure from the very outset, and every move he made was met with a countermove.
“It was really tough not to be vanquished,” said Chen.
Even commentators like China’s Go grandmaster Nie Weiping said the homegrown AI robot has attained a high level of game-playing skills.
“In view of today’s situation, AI is quite decisive and resolute in its onslaught, leaving few chances to Chen,” said Nie. “It’s no surprise he finally lost.”
The Go-playing version of SenseRobot came out on June 14 this year, following the launch of a variant with which to play Chinese chess in August 2022.
The Go robot comes with upgraded AI algorithms and a robotic arm to grab and place the pieces, just like its predecessor, according to SenseTime.
Designed to be a coach for young beginners in the game, it represents a renewed effort by SenseTime to popularize AI technologies and increase revenue streams.
The Go robot retails for 3,999 yuan (US$560), and supports tutorial and practice sessions, human-machine duels and online games between human players.