DeepMind’s David Silver on games, beauty, and AI’s potential to avert human-made disasters

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David Silver thinks games are the key to creativity. After competing in national Scrabble competitions as a kid, he went on to study at Cambridge and co-found a video game company. Later, after earning his PhD in artificial intelligence, he led the DeepMind team that developed AlphaGo—the first program to beat a world champion at the ancient Chinese game of go. But he isn’t driven by competitiveness.

That’s because for Silver, now a principal research scientist at DeepMind and computer science professor at University College London, games are playgrounds in which to understand how minds—human and artificial—learn on their own to achieve goals.

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