The Robot Uprising

A glimpse of the future?


One of the most notable events this week has been something that has reminded me of my first ever post on this blog. This has of course been the computer program AlphaGo’s victory at the ancient Chinese boardgame of Wei-qi (as a proud Sinophile who has lived in Taiwan for two years, I’ve spent most of the week being frustrated to the point of rage by everyone describing it as a Japanese game, even though the only differences between Go and Wei-qi are flat bottomed stones versus rounded ones, a slightly different scoring system and a more easily pronounced name) over Lee Sedol; the second highest ranked human player in the world. Continue reading

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Why I love… Early Video Game Art

 (Western Gun, better known as Gun Fight, 1975)

The first video game I ever played that wasn’t a handheld was Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Megadrive, over many happy hours at the after-school club at my middle school as an 8-10 year old. Previously, I’d enjoyed lots of different games on handheld devices (some of which I still have at the back of my wardrobe, long after I’ve dispensed with most of my other childhood toys) but somehow, home console games had slipped underneath my radar. Continue reading

The worst possible way to be beaten at your own game

To become really good at anything requires years of effort and dedication. To become a world champion in any type of sport requires you to make it a part of your life. But what happens when, after you have put in the years of training, practise and hard work, someone else comes along – who’s put in half the effort you have – and beats you anyway? And what does it feel like when – just to make things worse – the opponent who defeats you is not a fellow homo sapiens but a computer; which probably didn’t even exist when you started learning the game? Let’s take a look at three world champions who have had this terrible experience and how they have reacted and coped (or not) afterwards.

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