Did AlphaGo help promote interest of Go in Western world?

Have been watching AlphaGo vs Lee Sedol games on youtube. The games sparked lots of media interest due to AI machine vs human, not necessarily Go. So I am curious, is there any evidence that the event help promote Go in Western world?

Anecdotally, my best friend took up Go after the AlphaGo documentary, and my business parter agreed to a few lessons after watching as well.

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I don’t know about the rest of the world, but it definitely had a very noticeable effect here in the silicon valley.

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My Go playing definitely started because of the AlphaGo documentary


Did alphago help promote go?
Yes, massively.


I don’t know any exact statistics, but from my personal experience over the last decade and a half; Interest in the game has increased exponentially.
Not all of this interest can be accredited to AlphaGo though, Hikaru no Go has also had a notable increase in interest of the game over the last few years. I’d say at least half of new players I come accross have been introduce by either HnG, or AlphaGo.
-just my opinion

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Anecdotally and personally speaking, yes. I knew of Go for as long as I can remember through general knowledge, but I didn’t know about Go until news reports of what went down in Korea back in 2016.

I’d also suggest that documentaries such as AlphaGo and The Surrounding Game have also furthered the message.

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I found out about the game and started playing after watching coverage of the AG - Ke Jie match on YouTube.

I think the fact that Yellow Mountain Imports (or maybe it was the GoGameGuru shop) announced a shortage of Go equipment after the match suggests that there was a significant short-term effect.

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For me it was first in the book Shibumi, But a co-worker got interested via Alpha-Go

I watched AlphaGo because of my interest for Go rather than the contrary, but I've found it to be such a well-made, captivating documentary that I'm sure that even those who aren't into any of the subject matters (including AI/CS etc.) would be drawn to check out the game after watching. I can't help with the evidence you ask for, though.

Uncomfortable under the gaze, the MP explained, “I mean… well, it’s only a sort of chess or checkers or something, isn’t it?”

Intending to scour this prole with his disdain for things Western, Nicholai said, “Go is to Western chess what philosophy is to double-entry accounting.”

But obtuseness is its own protection against both improvement and punishment. The sergeant’s response was frank and naïve: “No s**t?”


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There was a set of OGS statistics in an old forum post. It showed a massive spike in new users registered here at OGS after AlphaGo vs Lee Sedol first aired on twitch.tv. Though it’s not a comprehensive set of data, it should be safe to infer that it sparked a lot of interest – at that time – among westerners (who probably thought Go was Pokemon Go before the event).

However, just as the Hikaru no Go craze came and gone in Japan, I don’t expect the interest to last after AlphaGo announced its retirement.

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Oh, yeah, I wish someone was so incredibely cool and thoughtfull and caring to remember, search for it, and post it already in this thread :stuck_out_tongue: