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How a Go champion turned to game design after losing to AI

October 16, 2023

Have you ever played Go? It's an ancient board game that originated in China more than 2,500 years ago. It's simple to learn, but hard to master. You and your opponent take turns placing black and white stones on a grid, trying to surround more territory than the other. Sounds easy, right? Well, not so much. Go is one of the most complex and strategic games in the world, with more possible moves than atoms in the universe!

That's why it was such a big deal when an artificial intelligence (AI) program called AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol, one of the world's best Go players, in a historic match in 2016. AlphaGo was developed by DeepMind, a research company owned by Google. It used deep learning, a type of machine learning that mimics the human brain, to learn from millions of Go games and improve its skills. AlphaGo stunned the world by defeating Lee Sedol 4-1 in a five-game series, showing that AI could surpass human intelligence in this ancient game.

But what happened to Lee Sedol after his loss? Did he give up on Go? Did he challenge AlphaGo to a rematch? Did he join forces with DeepMind to create a better AI? No, none of that. Instead, he did something unexpected: he became a game designer!

Lee Sedol announced his retirement from professional Go in 2019, saying that he felt there was no point in playing against AI anymore. He said he wanted to focus on other things, such as teaching Go to children and developing new games. He founded a company called Wizstone, which aims to create original and innovative abstract games that can challenge both humans and AI.

One of his games is called Wizstone: The Game of Wizards. It's a two-player game where you use cards and dice to cast spells and summon creatures on a hexagonal board. The goal is to destroy your opponent's tower or reduce their life points to zero. The game has a fantasy theme and features colorful artwork and characters.

Another game is called Wizstone: The Game of Numbers. It's a solo or cooperative game where you use cards and dice to create mathematical expressions that match the target numbers on the board. The game has a sci-fi theme and features futuristic graphics and symbols.

Both games are currently available for pre-order on Wizstone's website, and they are expected to ship in December 2023. Lee Sedol said he hopes his games will appeal to both casual and hardcore gamers, as well as inspire new generations of game designers.

So, what do you think of Lee Sedol's career change? Are you interested in trying his games? Do you think AI will ever beat him at his own games? Let us know in the comments below! And stay tuned to our blog for more news and updates on AI and gaming!

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