Mark Zuckerberg congratulates Google for ‘historic milestone in AI research’

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on stage at the company's F8 developer conference in San Francisco, Calif., in October 2015.

Facebook cofounder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg today has some positive things to say about Google. The remarks come a few hours after Google’s AlphaGo artificial intelligence (AI) program beat Lee Sedol, a highly decorated player of the board game Go, in the third consecutive game of a five-game match in Sedol’s native South Korea.

Google competes with Facebook on some fronts, and both companies are at the forefront of AI research. In fact, the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) group has been training its own AI software to play Go, but clearly it’s not at the same level as AlphaGo. Zuck’s praise for Google could be read as a challenge to Facebook researchers to step their game up.

FAIR head Yann LeCun today also offered congratulatory words to Google.

In January I asked Demis Hassabis, head of the Google DeepMind research group that’s behind AlphaGo, if there were any plans for AlphaGo to take on Facebook’s computer Go player. He said there were not. But maybe the companies could consider holding a match in the future, now that it’s clear that a machine can top a preeminent a top human Go player.

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