Episode 2: Go to Zero

In March 2016, more than 200 million people watched AlphaGo become first computer program to defeat a professional human player at the game of Go, a milestone in AI research that was considered to be a decade ahead of its time.

Since then the team has continued to develop the system and recently unveiled  AlphaZero: a program that has taught itself how to play chess, Go, and shogi. Hannah explores the inside story of both with Lead Researcher David Silver and finds out why games are a useful proving ground for AI researchers. She also meets Chess Grandmaster Matthew Sadler and women’s international master Natasha Regan, who have written a book on AlphaZero and its unique gameplay.

Interviewees: DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, Matthew Sadler, chess Grandmaster; Lead Researcher David Silver, Matt Botvinick, Director of Neuroscience Research; and Natasha Regan, women’s international chess master.

Go to Zero

26 mins

Find out more about the themes in this episode:

  1. AlphaGo the documentary
  2. The Surrounding Game: documentary about the ancient game of Go
  3. Garry Kasparov: Deep Thinking
  4. AI: More than Human - Exhibition at the Barbican Centre, 2019 and online exhibit
  5. DeepMind blog: AlphaZero
  6. Matthew Sadler and Natasha Rega: Game Changer - a book about chess and AI
  7. WIRED: What the AI behind AlphaGo can teach us about being human

If you know of other resources we should link to, please help other listeners by either replying to us on Twitter (#DMpodcast) or emailing us at podcast@deepmind.com. You can also use that address to send us questions or feedback on the series.


Presenter: Hannah Fry
Editor: David Prest
Senior Producer: Louisa Field
Producers: Amy Racs, Dan Hardoon
Binaural Sound: Lucinda Mason-Brown
Music composition: Eleni Shaw (with help from Sander Dieleman and WaveNet)