World’s top Go player Ke Jie announces rematch with AI, this time without AlphaGo

“I’ve said before that I will never play against AI, but now I take that back.” With these words, the best Go player in humankind, Ke Jie, announced his rematch with AI in April 2018.

His last match played against a computer program was against Google’s Alpha Go at the Future of Go Summit in Wuzhen in May. Here, Ke Jie suffered a defeat that rocked both the Go and the tech community and heralded the rise of artificial intelligence.

After losing all three games to AlphaGo in Wuzhen, the player promised never to play against AI again. But now it seems that Ke Jie has had a change of heart.

“It’s still enjoyable to challenge a higher opponent as a Go player—Go is a process of constantly challenging yourself,” Ke said according to media (in Chinese). “Whether it’s AI or a human Go player, both are very exciting.”

The man vs. machine rematch will take place in April 2018 in Fuzhou at the First Wuqingyuan Women’s Go Cup and the World AI Go Tournament 2018. But this time, AlphaGo will not participate as the software program has decided to retire. Go players will instead have a chance to fight AI programs such as Tencent’s Jueyi, Japanese DeepZenGo, Taiwanese CGI and other AI Go teams from other countries.

The two championships were announced today by its organizers at a news conference attended by Ke Jie and Chinese director and actor Tian Zhuangzhuang, cnBeta has reported (in Chinese). Ke Jie and Yi Zhiying, the highest ranked Chinese female Go player, will serve as ambassadors at the competition in Fuzhou.

After AlphaGo beat Korea’s top Go player Lee Sedol, Ke Jie played three unofficial online games in January 2017 against “Master”, an updated version of AlphaGo, losing all three. Ke stated he still had “one last move” to defeat AlphaGo, but the game in Wuzhen proved he was no match for AI. Google DeepMind offered $1.5 million winner prizes for this match while the losing side took $300,000 for participating in the three games.