Lee Sedol, former world champion, and legendary Go player today announced his retirement with the quote "Even if I become the No. 1, there is an entity that cannot be defeated".

Is it possible that AIs could kill the joy of competitive games(Go, chess, Dota 2, etc.) or (thinking more futuristic with humanoid AIs) in sports?

What happens if AIs gets better than us at painting and making music. Will we still appreciate it in the same way we do now?

  • $\begingroup$ Hi. This is an interesting question, but you should not ask the question "What do you think...?" but you should try to ask for facts or a logical argument. Anyway, I don't think that AI will kill the joy of competitive games. Many people play go (competitively or not) even though they know they are not the best. If Lee Sedol really retired, it doesn't mean all people will now retire. Moreover, we don't play games only competitively. We are not machines. $\endgroup$ – nbro Nov 30 '19 at 0:30
  • $\begingroup$ A game playing AI transform the competition towards a higher level. The challenge isn't to play go itself, but the challenge is to write a software which is able to do the task instead of the human. The same can be anticipated for other domains for example in the domain of car driving. We will see in the future or even today some kind of competition between AI experts who are able to write the most advanced computer software. $\endgroup$ – Manuel Rodriguez Nov 30 '19 at 7:52
  • $\begingroup$ nbro: Yes, agree, I rephrased the question. I know we play games for fun too, but that's why I wrote competetive games. Say, the worlds best player quits because she cannot beat an AI either way. Will the world champion feel like a champion when there is two players better(the quitter and the AI)? Keep in mind, the world champions(of anything) are insanely competetive. Manuel Rodrigues : So you think the competitions will go from playing games to coding agents who play the games? That agents compete for us? $\endgroup$ – Vildemort Nov 30 '19 at 12:09
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Does the fact that men are better at running 100m sprint race killed the joy of competitive sports (running) in women? $\endgroup$ – Tomasz Bartkowiak Nov 30 '19 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ I have worried this fact a few times ago :/ $\endgroup$ – malioboro Nov 30 '19 at 13:08


Chess has been "solved" by AI much longer than GO (chess engines even before AI are way too strong for human players) and still people are playing and competing.

Simply put competition and sports live from the human element. Humans competing against each other will still create the same joy for most people regardless of the fact that all involved players might lose against a computer.

Some select individuals on the highest level might be put off by the new reality but it won't be the end of competition.

No human is faster than a car and yet we still celebrate running competitions.

Indeed I think long-term we will gain entertainment by watching different AIs and models compete against each other in chess or Go.


The assumption of a Go playing computer program is, that the machine provides an agent who plays the game. Man or machine have to prove inside the same rules of Go that they are able to win the challenge. The idea is, that the Deepmind Go playing engine is a narrow AI which is working inside the environment known as “game of Go”.

This assumption has to be questioned if it's true. In most cases, AI game playing agents are more than only a synthetic player but what they are providing instead is a learning environment for humans. From the game of chess this extra feature is known from the past. Most AI chess engines are equal to a computer based training in which the human player learns to improve his chess skills. In the mainstream discussion around AI engines this extra feature is ignored as not relevant. But it has to do with the social implication of an AI software.

In the first case, the AI is simply an agent who fits into an existing game, in the second case, the AI is producing a new kind of game not known before. The hypothesis is, that it's not possible to create a narrow AI Go playing agent, and each attempt in doing so will look like a strong AI in which a human player is put into the social role of learner.

Let us analyze the relationship between Lee Sedol and the Deepmind Alphago team by it's social roles. They aren't playing against each other, but Lee Sedol was embedded in the project. That means, the Alphago software is a computer based training and Lee Sedol is using the software to increase his strength. It makes no sense to rate the strength of a computer based training system but it's the other way around. Different human go players will use the AlphaGo software with a different purpose. Somebody gets bored while other can profit from it.


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