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Asia needs a policy framework to govern AI technology

Artificial intelligence will benefit the region, but economic reforms needed

| China

In his novel "The Master of Go," Nobel Prize-winning author Yasunari Kawabata chronicled a real-life game of Go, the Japanese game of strategy, that took place in 1938 between Honinbo Shusai, a respected master, and Minoru Kitani, an up-and-coming player. The epic six-month game ended with the master losing narrowly to his younger challenger, reflecting the eternal tensions between old traditions and modern rationality. As Kawabata concluded: "From the way of Go, the beauty of Japan and the Orient had fled. Everything had become science and regulation."

Nearly eight decades later, games of Go as pivotal as the 1938 challenge are still being played, but with more profound implications. In 2016, Google DeepMind's Go-playing artificial intelligence, AlphaGo, beat top South Korean player Lee Sedol. In the first few days of 2017, AlphaGo went on to beat Chinese player Ke Jie, the world's number one player, on the online Go platform Tygem.

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