Did AlphaGo make a social breakthrough for the West?

Apparently that shortage in go equipment extends to go literature as well. I’ve had a couple of books on order for more than three months. I had to phone the supplier just to confirm that my order hadn’t fallen through a crack somewhere.

“Enquiring minds want to know.”

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I understood the pun without explanation! :rofl:

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I like this forum :grinning:

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AFAIK this is only true for Japanese Go boards, not for traditional Chinese boards; and I don’t know about Korean boards.

(If anybody knows more then please correct me.)

Also, it’s “Go”, not allcaps :wink:
(Only mentioning this b/c your writing “GO” could be understood as an acronym or as SHOUTING.)

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Fixed, cause I’m not a shouter.

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The influence of the AG vs. Lee Sedol match in spurring interest in go has been widely noted, I think. Yes, it was probably a breakthrough, or at least the largest publicity event we are likely to see. Furthermore, AG has become an icon of AI in my opinion, as I wrote in a recent thread (AlphaGo as an Icon of AI), which means that it will continue to exert some residual influence in terms of bringing go to people’s attention.

However, the number of go players had already increased enormously in the U.S. before the advent of AG. When I first played go in the late 1960s and early 70s, it was almost impossible to find anyone who had ever heard of the game here in the Washington, D.C. area. Now there are 3 AGA clubs in Northern Virginia (and I don’t know how many in Maryland). The best way to capitalize on this surge of interest in the U.S., IMHO, would be to establish go club in middle schools and high schools. Many, if not most, such schools have chess clubs, but few if any have go clubs. However, I do not think go will ever attain the same level of popularity as chess in the West. The tradition is lacking, and something in the nature of the game, perhaps the immobility of the pieces, seems to have less appeal to the Western mind.

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Not just the Western mind. As I understand it, Shogi is more popular than Go in Japan.

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… or perhaps the fact that it is much harder!

While Shogi and Chess share in common that they have moving pieces, they also share in common they they have a smaller board with much smaller game tree…

GaJ

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While I agree with you here, and I could be wrong about this, I think chess is actually less and less popular these days. I’ve been surprised quite a few times hearing people they’ve never learn how to play chess, and not only from younger people but well grown ups and educated people (I know education has nothing to do, but usually are more interested in this type of things).

On the other hand other casual board games are growing in popularity, so I guess people don´t “have the time or patience” to learn and devote themselves to just one game even if at least to a certain extent.

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Thank the Internet for that. Seems most people in my part of the world choose artificial (and purposeless, IMO) life in cyberspace over real-world skills and social exchange.

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Well I am sure many people would view us spending MONTHS learning to place stones really well as purpouseless as well :smiley: so you know… Each to his own. :slight_smile:

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I guess my point is I believe games like Go and Chess develop a person more fully than Farmville and Candy Crush.

And there are other cool skills on the wane as well. Music, art, dance, building things. Their decline is just symptomatic of a population that prefers cat videos and click bait articles to fill their free time.

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Yeah, people like to think that THEIR hobby is more wortwhile and honorable than other’s… Makes them feel better about themselves.

No, sorry :smiley: I don’t mean to sound salty, but really let everyone enjoy what they like. And honestly candy crush is a fun game and requires quick decision making and often a good level of reading as well. I played a bunch it was fun. You do not need to diminish what other people like for fun, and a go player is not a better person than a candy crush player by default…

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How about Farmville? Lol
Kidding. I see your point and I agree.

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Have not actually played farmille :smiley: somehow the idea is not so tempting for me. Now delicious candy, that’s something more for me! :smiley:

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Interesting point! If Shogi really is more popular in Japan, I wonder whether that accounts for Japan’s decline in professional go dominance. Also, has the shift in interest occurred because of the effect of modernity, which would link East and West in this particular? Or even, perhaps, a result of the influence of the West on Japan?

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I am naturally inclined to sympathise with your sentiment here, but I have had reason for optimism in recent years. Although classical music (the only kind I am qualified to speak about) is in commercial decline, a steady stream of outstanding young performers are up and coming. There is no cause for fear about art. I love art (though I am utterly incapable) and have seen many county and state-wide high school art shows. The level of technical and imaginative accomplishment is astonishing and abundant. The U.S. has dance schools all over the place, and many of their students have a high level of achievement. “Building things” is less clear to me, but I have seen no decline in the “do-it-yourself,” American tradition. On a personal level, I had long worried that various circus skills were in decline—especially juggling—but it isn’t so, as one can see in YouTube videos. Anthony Gatto, who will be 44 this year, set records for technical prowess in his youth in the 1990s. Take a look at the 2016 world juggling day video to see numerous high schoolers practicing their amazing skills in a gymnasium. And I recently saw a video of a high school kid, in what appeared to be a talent show, who has mastered the style of the silent comedians and combined it with juggling for a knockout comedic act.

To bring it back on topic, I think we can also take heart at the many young prodigies in go, who are even becoming numerous at the top level of play.

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I really hope you’re right. It’s just depressing to me when I come in contact with so many adults under 30 who have never swung a hammer if you take my meaning. Nor have they used any tools besides their phone, computer mouse, and TV remote. Lol?

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You may well be right. Sometimes, though, they may be driven by necessity to improve themselves. I had no background in manual arts—I just wasn’t brought up that way—though I did some stints of unskilled labor in my youth. It was only when I became a homeowner that I got some skills, repairing and even shingling some places in my roof, laying in a drainage pipe, and building brick and concrete walls, as well as doing some painting.

Of course, it is hard to tell what is a trend and what is an exception. I think reading is in decline (as a percentage of population), even though the gross number of readers may be increasing.

Just thought of a skill that does seem definitely on the wane: map reading.

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Oh for sure!