Bridge, eight world champions defeated by a computer

Bridge, eight world champions defeated by a computer. Artificial intelligence had never been able to match the skill of bridge champions, because the game is too complex. After this success, new paths open up to the use of robots in everyday life

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It happened: the computer beat the bridge champions. For the uninitiated it might seem like news like any other, which adds to the successes already achieved in the past in other strategy games. The challenge of challenges remains in the history of artificial intelligence, the one that in 1996 saw the world chess champion Garry Kasparov and IBM’s Deep Blue software confront each other. The computer won a game against the Russian champion but lost the match 2 to 4. The following year, however, there was a rematch and Kasparov was definitively beaten. This defeat marked a culmination of learning software development. Chess was in fact considered a game where the ability to calculate is mixed with the intuition and unpredictability of surprise moves, typically human characteristics. But the chessboard is a combinatorial system under the eyes of both opponents and the game involves only two players

Bridge is more difficult. It is considered by some to be the “perfect game”. The complexity of this card game involves two opposing couples who have to make decisions without having the complete picture under their eyes unlike chess: you do not know the opponent’s cards and you have to communicate with your partner in a transparent, conventional way without however benefit the opponent. This complexity the artificial intelligence had not been able to handle, until now. Too difficult to teach a machine to make decisions in an environment of incomplete information, having to react to the moves of the opponents, and, at the same time, having to instruct it to correctly interpret the game choices of one’s partner in order to organize the best possible “defense”. Conversely, in chess and Go – both of which the AIs have already beaten human champions – a player has only one opponent at a time and both are in possession of all the information.

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