Mark5000's Guide to the Opening (v2)

By no means. The fact is that Go for me is a simulator for the development of human thinking and other useful abilities, a game, a good time, nothing more, but no less. The goal of attempts to “calculate” Go with the help of the senselessly expensive “supercomputer” is incomprehensible to me, and therefore the result of these attempts is not interesting.
Sorry for bad English.

I think many people approach the game of go with the aim of better understanding, and hence better appreciating and enjoying the game, rather than just to get stronger for the sake of winning. If we seek knowledge, why should we shun certain tools and technology that might help us?

Even at the highest levels of skill and understanding, it seems that we have no idea what’s going on with the opening. However, over centuries of dedicated study, we’ve deluded ourselves into believing that our commonly accepted wisdom on the matter was approaching the truth. Perhaps, this entrenchment has even stifled our creativity and restrained our pursuit of knowledge.

The emergence of superhuman bots is only a very recent development in the long history of go, but it appears that their style of play has already starkly challenged and shed light on our limited grasp of the game. Ultimately, it seems impossible that a machine will ever fully “calculate” or “solve” go, but it clearly has done enough to shake up our philosophy and approach.

This is an exciting time for the world of go. It seems comparable to, and probably exceeds, the shinfuseki movement, in terms of how new experimentation is being encouraged and old schools of thought are being reconsidered and possibly even abandoned.


Then this guide is probably not for you. It is intended to help players inch their understanding of the game closer to the so-called Truth of Go, finding the best moves and playing at the highest level possible. It will have little value for those who play Go for some other purpose blind to the Truth of Go.


Even if you don’t want to play like a computer, and don’t care about the “Truth of Go”, other people will certainly play computer-style moves against you. Knowing the theory behind their moves, and the proper way to follow up, is just as important as knowing the follow up for any other move. Similarly, I don’t remember the last time I played 5-4, but I know how to respond to it in a manner which suits how I like to play. I’ve got no real interest in learning how to play it, but if my opponents play it from time to time, I should at least learn to respond.


This is a curious interpretation of what AlphaGo does.

In fact, AlphaGo does not “calculate” Go at all.

It’s actually a fascination reproduction of the development of human go thinking!

It does what we (think that) we do. It is trained to recognise shapes and patterns. Just like we do. It looks ahead at what might happen, and the shapes and patterns involved, just like we do. And makes a guess at what the best move would be based on that it’s previous experience of the outcomes of those shapes and patterns. Just like we do.

So as a person interested in the development of human thinking, AlphaGo surely would be high on the list of things to look at.


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Maybe. But what’s so exciting about it?
The computer reproduces human thinking now, but what happens when it learns how to do it well enough? Will people use it instead of using their own brains?
I don’t need crutches to walk. At least as long as my legs are up to the task. But what happens if I start using crutches instead of legs? Do not I forget how to walk after a while? Of course, I will unlearn and be forced to use these crutches for the rest of my life.
When I walk, my legs become stronger. When I play Go, I look for good moves, using my experience and my mind. If I find good moves, I am glad that my thinking is strengthened. If I find bad moves, I am glad that the way to strengthen my thinking is not over yet. I always feel joy playing Go, regardless of whether I won or lost. Therefore, I do not need artificial intelligence, I would rather manage my own.
There is an ancient parable about a monkey that played Go better than anyone. The monkey was taken to the palace of a noble grandee, and there the grandee watched her beat all the best players. And then the nobleman ordered to kill the monkey. “What a freak,” he said.
I think AlfaGo is akin to that monkey - a senseless, ugly phenomenon, a sad symptom of the imperfection of humanity. I hope that AlfaGo will share the fate of that monkey (although I know that this will not happen).
If I had as much money as is spent on this meaningless trinket, I would rather try to help those who suffer from poverty, hunger, disease, poor ecology and social injustice.

We find ourselves in vastly different philosophical and moral realms. I don’t relate at all to the story of the monkey being killed: that seems like a vastly stupid decision to me. “What a freak. I don’t understand it so I destroy it”. Wow.

Similarly, viewing pursuit of better problem solving engines as “meaninless trinkets” is hard to fathom. Already the underlying mechanisms piloted with Alpha go are being applied to solve a range of human problems, likely including the ones you listed.

And finding out from a machine that we made that actually 3-3 invasion is a good idea - what is that if it is not a “way to strengthen your own thinking”?

There is a lot to be afraid of in AI development - as with most new technology - but casting it out as “freakish meaningless trinkets” doesn’t seem to be a very rational way of approaching those fears.


Sorry, but I see it a little differently. In this case, the difference between a monkey and a man is the same as between a man and a robot. I will explain. There is something that only living beings can do. For example, only living things can breathe and eat. You can teach the robot to breathe and eat, but for what? The robot is not inherent in breathing and feeding, if he begins to do this, it will be only an imitation of real breathing and nourishment. Why does a human need a robot who will eat his food without even taking any benefit from it? Why feed the robots when thousands and thousands of people suffer from hunger? Such a robot is ugliness, meaningless and useless.
The same with the monkey. Only people can play Go and still benefit from it. The monkey is not inherent in playing Go. Why does a man need a monkey that plays Go without even extracting any benefit from it? Why play Go with a monkey when you can play with other people? Such a monkey is a deformity, meaningless and useless.
Therefore, the robot should be disassembled for vacuum cleaners, and the monkey … well, you already know that. :sunglasses:

We have over 7 billion people on the planet and still need AlfaGo to solve our problems? And if AlfaGo already solves our problems, then where are the unprecedented, unattainable results for us that would justify the existence of this piece of iron?

Of course no. Looking at how someone exercises with a barbell, you will understand that barbell exercises are a great way to strengthen muscles. But your muscles from this very observation will not become stronger. To do this, you will have to take the barbell in your hands and work hard for several months. :sweat_smile:

And the last. I am not afraid of artificial intelligence. I’m afraid of what he will do to people. And I’m not talking about enslavement, extermination, and other science fiction. I’m talking about stupidity, the most common, banal stupidity, which is becoming more and more year after year.


Suffice to say that we have established that we have vastly different world views. It’s very unlikey we could reconcile them. We might come to understand each the other some more if we try :slight_smile:

But that would be a topic for a different thread


Totally agree!

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Allow me to clarify this point.

Leela Zero is a free, open source initiative.

AlphaGo was a limited-time initiative to show the potential for people to use AI systems to generate new insights in complex fields. It has been retired.
From the DeepMind website:
“The research team behind AlphaGo will now throw their energy into the next set of grand challenges, developing advanced general algorithms that could one day help scientists as they tackle some of our most complex problems, such as finding new cures for diseases, dramatically reducing energy consumption, or inventing revolutionary new materials.”