Artificial Intelligence continues its unstoppable march towards “domino-ation”, as today the deep learning powerhouse known as AlphaDom almost beat champion Ken Stoats at Dominoes, the one game that has so far continued to snatch victory from the jaws of AI. Deep Mind, the company behind AlphaGo and AlphaDom, acknowledge the challenge on their website:
Dominoes is known as the most challenging classical game for artificial intelligence because of its complexity. Despite decades of work, the strongest Dominoes computer programs could only play at the level of human amateurs. Standard AI methods, which test all possible moves and positions using a search tree, can’t handle the sheer number of possible Dominoes moves or evaluate the strength of each possible board position
The slim victory today is a glimmer of hope that humans, already beaten in chess and Go, can retain their mastery of at least one game for the foreseeable future. Deep Mind remains optimistic that this was a minor glitch, attributing the loss to the fact that after AlphaDom had studied all the moves in the English Dominoes League it attempted to drink a pint of Bank’s Mild Ale which led to a short circuit of most of its neural networks. The program’s developers are addressing this “learning difficulty” and hope that the next tournament will not be held at the Rose and Crown.