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According to Wikipedia, the Chinese board game Go, invented more than 2,500 years ago, has more possible moves "than the total number of atoms in the visible universe." Due to this fact, along with the importance of reaction and intuition when executing a strategy, Go has proved harder for computers to master than less complex games such as checkers or chess. Go just has too many possibilities for a machine to win by brute-force calculations, which is how IBM’s Deep Blue famously beat chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. The Google DeepMind AI team designed a program—AlphaGo—they hoped would rise to the Go challenge and set up a match with South Korean grandmaster Lee Sedol, a peerless champion who has rock star status in Asia.
Filmmaker Greg Kohs was there to capture Sedol ("I think it will be five to zero, or perhaps four to one," he says with a smile when predicting victory for himself) and the Google team in the run-up to the match and then the match itself. The result—which was live-streamed and watched by 60 million people in China alone—is a nail-biting drama, packed with moments of suspense, unexpected droll humour and a surprising amount of emotion, which plays out like a thriller.