A Google-developed supercomputer beat a South Korean Go grandmaster again yesterday, taking a commanding 2-0 lead in a five-game series that has become a stunning global debut for a new style of "intuitive" artificial intelligence (AI).
After shocking the world by defeating Lee Sedol - one of the greatest modern players of the ancient board game - in their opening match on Wednesday, the AlphaGo computer proved it was no fluke with another victory after a gruelling four-and-a-half-hour encounter.
"I am quite speechless. I admit it was a very clear loss on my part," Lee told reporters after the match, adding he had found "no weakness" in AlphaGo's performance during Thursday's match.
"AlphaGo played a near perfect game today... I will try my best so that I will win at least one game," said an ashen-faced Lee, who had earlier predicted that he would beat the supercomputer by a "landslide".
The 33-year-old must win in all three remaining matches - held on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday - to win the series that has a cash prize of US$1 million.
AlphaGo’s creators have described Go as the "Mt Everest" of AI, saying the game is so complex, it needs a degree of creativity and intuition to prevail over an opponent.
The most famous AI victory to date came in 1997 when the IBM-developed supercomputer Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov, the then-world class chess champion, in its second attempt.
But a true mastery of Go, which has more possible move configurations than there are atoms in the universe, had long been considered the exclusive province of humans - until now.