"AlphaGo" New England Premiere

10:30am Sat Gateway Community College


On March 9, 2016, the worlds of Go and artificial intelligence collided in South Korea.
AlphaGo and Lee Sedol playing Go

With more board configurations than there are atoms in the universe, the ancient Chinese game of Go has long been considered a grand challenge for artificial intelligence. On March 9, 2016, the worlds of Go and artificial intelligence collided in South Korea for an extraordinary best-of-five-game competition, coined The DeepMind Challenge Match. Hundreds of millions of people around the world watched as a legendary Go master took on an unproven AI challenger for the first time in history.

Directed by Greg Kohs with an original score by Academy Award nominee, Hauschka, AlphaGo chronicles a journey from the halls of Oxford, through the backstreets of Bordeaux, past the coding terminals of Google DeepMind in London, and ultimately, to the seven-day tournament in Seoul. As the drama unfolds, more questions emerge: What can artificial intelligence reveal about a 3000-year-old game? What can it teach us about humanity?

Film News

    “Ancient Chinese board game treated with NFL-like drama and intrigue”
    LA Times, October, 2017

    “gripping, emotional documentary, which gets us thinking, about thinking, in a whole new way”
    Evening Standard, October, 2017

    ”as exciting as a top-notch Heavyweight title match”
    Big Picture, Big Sound, September, 2017

    “an excellent and surprisingly touching documentary about one of the great recent triumphs of artificial intelligence”
    BBC, October, 2017

    “A new documentary sheds light on an overlooked truth behind man versus machine competitions”
    CNN, September, 2017

    “an essential documentary that demands to be viewed”
    Front Row Reviews, October, 2017

    “Tribeca 2017: 14 Must-See Films From This Year's Festival”
    IndieWire, April, 2017

Director's Statement

Early in my career I worked at NFL Films. That experience, of being able to see the drama on the field while having access to the people and stories unfolding off the field, has always been a fascinating intersection for me. In my recent film, The Great Alone, I was able to explore the epic scale of the Iditarod through the comeback story of a single competitor. In AlphaGo, the competition between man and machine provided a similar backdrop, albeit with far larger consequences.

The complexity of the game of Go, combined with the technical depth of an emerging technology like artificial intelligence seemed like it might create an insurmountable barrier for a film like this. The fact that I was so innocently unaware of Go and AlphaGo actually proved to be beneficial. It allowed me to approach the action and interviews with pure curiosity, the kind that helps make any subject matter emotionally accessible.

Unlike the film’s human characters – who turn their curious quest for knowledge into an epic spectacle with great existential implications, who dare to risk their reputation and pride to contest that curiosity – AI might not yet possess the ability to empathize. ​But it can teach us profound things about our humanness – the way we play board games, the way we think and feel and grow.​ It’s a deep, vast premise, but my hope is, by sharing it, we can discover something within ourselves we never saw before.

— Greg Kohs, Director

05.05.18 - 10:45 am
1 hour 15 minutes