Mo Bitar

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Win by one

February 4, 2018

Winning usually involves possessing just 1 more than the opponent. One more of what? Anything. This was sort of the stunning insight that led to AlphaGo’s dominance over its human counterparts. (AlphaGo is an AI developed by Google DeepMind, and is also the eponymously named documentary on Netflix.) At a game like Go, optimizing a game for winning by just one would be nearly impossible for a human to accomplish. For an AI? I tremble just thinking about that level of forethought and incisiveness.

This thought revisits me today because my primary strategy in games seems to be acquire many more points than the opponent. And if I’m up by 1, instead of saying excellent with a devilish grin, I say, excellent—now to get some more!

I’m aroused by the simple yet fatiguing aspect of relentlessly holding, or planning for, a simple one point lead against an opponent who is taken off guard and expecting to play against a greedy, human opponent. I rub my chin (in mostly futile contemplation) and wonder what other scenarios a “win by one”-like strategy can be employed in against an unassuming rival.


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