John Naughton: Can Google’s AlphaGo really feel it in its algorithms? | John Naughton

When the game-playing system AlphaGo defeated a master of the Chinese game go five games to nil, its creators could not explain why. Is this a sign of intuitive AI?

Last week, researchers at the artificial intelligence company DeepMind, which is now owned by Google, announced an extraordinary breakthrough: in October last, a DeepMind computing system called AlphaGo had defeated the reigning European champion player of the ancient Chinese game go by five games to nil. The victory was announced last week in a paper published in the scientific journal Nature.

So what? Computers have been getting better and better at board games for yonks. Way back in the dark ages of 1997, for example, IBM’s Deep Blue machine beat the then world chess champion, Garry Kasparov, at chess. So surely go, which is played not with six different pieces but black and white tokens – would be a pushover? Not so: the number of possible positions in go outnumber the number of atoms in the universe and far exceed the number of possibilities in chess.

Intuitions can be wrong, which is why we need evidence… and why we become suspicious when this is not forthcoming

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Just Solutions International caused a £1.1 million loss to the Ministry of Justice

29th January 2016 It now can be revealed that “Just Solutions International” – the Ministry of Justice commercial venture promoted by former Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling – caused an overall £1.1 million LOSS to the MoJ. JSI was closed by Grayling’s successor Michael Gove last October. From a National Audit Report [Edit: … Continue reading Just Solutions International caused a £1.1 million loss to the Ministry of Justice

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Dave Hill | The Guardian: Sadiq and Zac who? Don’t discount the other London mayor candidates | Dave Hill

The Lib Dem, Green and Ukip hopefuls could have their say in May – not least because of the supplementary voting system

It’s already first-name terms and class war cliches for the frontrunners in the London mayoral race: Zac v Sadiq – posh boy Tory Goldsmith v Labour council house kid Khan.

You’ll get more familiar with them in the days leading up to the election in May – unless you live under a large, soundproofed rock. There are, however, other hopefuls in the field, each with their visions and ambitions. They succeed Boris Johnson at the helm of City Hall only in their sweetest dreams. But the capital’s mayoral system alone makes them worthy of voters’ scrutiny.

Related: London mayor race: the Liberal Democrat vision of Caroline Pidgeon

Related: London mayor race: can Zac Goldsmith catch Sadiq Khan?

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via Dave Hill | The Guardian