The world has quietly crowned a new chess champion. While it has now been over two decades since a human has been honored with that title, the latest victor represents a breakthrough in another significant way: It’s an algorithm that can be generalized to other learning tasks.

It gets crazier. AlphaZero, the new reigning champion, acquired all its chess know-how in a mere four hours. AlphaZero is almost as different from its fellow AI chess competitors as Deep Blue was from Gary Kasparov, back when the latter first faced off against a supercomputer in 1996.

And what’s more, AlphaZero stands to upend not merely the world of chess, but the whole realm of strategic decision-making. If that doesn’t give you pause, it probably should.

From its origins in India, the game of chess has stood the test of time as a measure of strategic intelligence. Games of imperfect information, like the variation of poker known as Texas Hold-‘Em, arguably have more in common with our day-to-day strategic decisions. Read more from…

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