"AlphaGo" pits man against machine.
"AlphaGo" pits man against machine.

The man versus machine board game battle doc "AlphaGo" comes out a winner

In space. In the sky. In past, present and future Los Angeles. In video games – as well as literally inside video games. In beautifully designed modern forest getaways and in R-rated Western LARPs. Ever since the days of silent film, the movies have found new places to take the fight between man and machine – and not to send you into a tinfoil hat-crafting craze of paranoia, so has reality. In the entertaining and engaging new documentary "AlphaGo," director Greg Kohs finds the latest battleground in this epic conflict of human versus robot, this war for the future.

A board game.

Sure, maybe not the fiery robo-pocalypse hellscape you were expecting, but "AlphaGo" still packs plenty of big ideas for the future’s potential – both tantalizing and terrifying.

For years, the technology wizards at Google DeepMind have wanted to great an artificial intelligence program with one goal: to defeat a human being in a game of Go. (Have none of you seen a sci-fi movie? First, the robots dominate Chutes and Ladders – then, the world!)

Go is no simple little contest, however. It’s an ancient game of seemingly black-and-white simplicity but infinite complexity. For a computer to master the thousands upon thousands of potential moves and strategic concepts involved would be a significant step forward for A.I. – not to mention a massive humbling for the human species. And after years of high-tech tinkering and testing, the board game to end all board games finally put its pieces on the table in 2016, pitting the AlphaGo program against international champion Lee Sedol in South Korea.

For the first third of Kohs’s documentary, however, it seems like the story will be about a different earlier match, featuring the computer facing off against Fan Hui, a fellow pro Go player. Hui, with his bright voice and beaming sense of hopeful humor, even makes a perfect human foil for the cold computer algorithms on the other side of the board. However, he gets destroyed pretty qui…

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