A Google computer program has beaten a master of the Chinese board game Go by three games to nil in a victory which will be heralded as a major leap forward for artificial intelligence.
In a match broadcast on YouTube, AlphaGo won the third and decisive game against the world's second top ranked Go player, Lee Sedol, in South Korea on Saturday.
At one point, Sedol was reported to have said he was "speechless" that the computer was playing a "nearly perfect game".
While Go appears deceptively simple, with players taking turns to put black or white stones on a 19-by-19 grid, it was said to represent an exceptionally difficult challenge for computer programmers to master.
That challenge fell to Google's artificial intelligence unit DeepMind, the brains behind AlphaGo, which turned the computer into a master of the game by having it play itself millions of times.
“We came here to challenge Lee, to learn from him and see what AG was capable of,” said Demis Hassabis, co-founder of DeepMind.
“AlphaGo controlled the momentum over more than four hours of gameplay, with Lee struggling to maintain territory against the program’s creative approach. Google DeepMind taught AlphaGo to recognise the optimal move in thousands of possible scenarios.”
Google said it would donate its $1m prize money to charity.
AI has emerged as one of the dominant themes in marketing in recent months, with brands including Mashable and New Look recently sharing with The Drum how they are beginning to put the technology at the centre of their activities.