You probably remember the hullabaloo back in 1997 when IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov. It was seen as the beginning of the end for humanity and the rise of the intelligent machines.
Then years went by with nothing new. Computers kept getting faster, but the intelligence part never quite arrived. Even IBM's headline-grabbing, "Jeopardy"-winning Watson supercomputer, while impressive and useful, hasn't upended the world. That could be about to change.
In a little-publicized victory, a computer has beaten a professional player at the game Go. Part of the reason most people didn't hear about it is because not many people know what Go is. Also, the professional player in this case wasn't a world champion, although that matchup is coming later this year.
This is a big deal for artificial intelligence, however. In fact, many teams around the world are working on this problem. The big question is, why?