Mysterious new go champion revealed to be an AI.

Nature reports on the latest surprise to come out of the DeepMind project, who just revealed one of their programs as the anonymous master who’s been defeating all comers in online go games:

Known only by the name ‘Master(P)’, since late December the anonymous player has beaten the world’s best at Go in a string of online games, including defeating current world number one, 19-year-old Ke Jie.

Go is regarded as the most complex board game ever invented, and is famously difficult for computers to crack. But last year, AlphaGo showcased the strength of AI software when it stunned the Go world, first by defeating a professional human player, Fan Hui, and then going on to beat one of the Go world’s top players, Lee Sedol.

Fellow players had a hunch that Master(P) was probably also an AI program. It came out of nowhere to win dozens of consecutive quick-fire games across two separate online platforms. And on 4 January, Google DeepMind chief executive Demis Hassabis revealed on Twitter that Master(P) is a new prototype version of AlphaGo. The “unofficial” games were designed to test the prototype, he said: “We’re excited by the results and also by what we and the Go community can learn from some of the innovative and successful moves played by the new version of AlphaGo.”

Playing on the online servers Tygem and FoxGo, Master(P) played more than 50 games, winning in all — except perhaps for one game, which, according to some reports, was deemed a tie only because the network connection of the opponent, the Go professional Chen Yaoye, timed out.