Midnight In The Desert — games

What Is Pokémon Go and Why Is Everyone Talking About It?

Posted by K R on

What Is Pokémon Go and Why Is Everyone Talking About It?

First, my friend caught a Charmander at a supermarket. Then the flood started: Digletts on a steering wheel. Rhyhorn at the bar. Magikarp on a frying pan. They’re all Pokémon to catch, part of a new game called Pokémon Go. You’ve probably heard of it—but what is it, and why is everyone obsessed with it? Pokémon is the portmanteau of “pocket monsters,” and an insanely popular franchise with a just as insanely long history. In Pokémon, monsters roam the lands, and your job is to find, capture, and train them. Then you put them in battle against other players. Growing...

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How the Computer Beat the Go Player

Posted by K R on

How the Computer Beat the Go Player

God moves the player, he in turn, the piece. But what god beyond God begins the round of dust and time and sleep and agonies? —Jorge Luis Borges, from “Chess,” 1960 The victory in March of the computer program AlphaGo over one of the world's top handful of go players marks the highest accomplishment to date for the burgeoning field of machine learning and intelligence. The computer beat Lee Se-dol at go, a very old and traditional board game, at a highly publicized tournament in Seoul in a 4–1 rout. With this defeat, computers have bettered people in the last...

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Why a Machine Defeating a Human Does Not Signal the Apocalypse

Posted by K R on

Why a Machine Defeating a Human Does Not Signal the Apocalypse

Earlier this week, the AlphaGo program from Google DeepMind defeated one of the world's top players in the board game called Go, 4 games to 1. The achievement is a milestone in artificial intelligence and has led to intense debate about the long-term implications to society. The fact is—and this may sound gloomy—machines will likely replace us in any well-defined task. When two otherwise equal devices compete to solve a problem, the winner will be the one that is more streamlined. Getting rid of overhead and task-irrelevant capabilities makes a machine more effective, and we humans are good at just...

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