Last night my daughters were at a sleepover, so we picked a Netflix movie we thought my son would really like. AlphaGo is a documentary about the computer scientists who wrote the code for the program that played the world champion Go player. (I won’t tell you how it came out, in the five game match, wouldn’t want to ruin the suspense). It was an interesting movie on several levels.
First, it was kind of a cross-cultural education, since I had no idea what a huge deal Go is in China, Korea, and Japan. According to one of the people interviewed, it is considered one of the four noble arts, up there with poetry, music, and painting. Children are taught to play from a young age, much like we would put our kids in piano lessons or ballet class.
Second, it raised some interesting questions about artificial intelligence, ethics, and what constitutes creativity and intuition. All good things to discuss.
Third, if you have kids that are more STEM inclined than athletically inclined, it was lots of fun to see what is essentially a sports movie, but where the heroes of the team are computer scientists and strategy game prodigies.
As my son said when the credits were rolling, “I can’t believe this only got two stars on Netflix!” Yeah, well, it definitely appealed to a niche audience.