[Computer-go] AlphaGo and the Standard Mistake in Research and Journalism

David Ongaro david.ongaro at hamburg.de
Mon Feb 1 02:07:56 PST 2016

> On 31 Jan 2016, at 16:05, Robert Jasiek <jasiek at snafu.de> wrote:
> For the yellow press: "The number of 10^80 atoms in the universe is much smaller than the number 2 * 10^170 of possible positions, which is very much smaller than the uncountable number of possible different games."

"much smaller" is a much too weak word. And the point of such comparisons is that the press wants to avoid stating exponentials (which nobody can "relate" to). But I agree with Tromp, that a comparison with the number of atoms of the universe is just ridiculous. I'm just astounded that a smart guy like Demis Hasabbis thinks it's a good comparison and reiterates it all the time. Maybe saying "Even if we replace every atom in our universe with a copy of our universe the resulting number of atoms would still be less than the number of Go positions" would be appropriate.

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