Being Asian, there are people who played it (Baduk), but I didn't pay attention and my father and I played chess.
In my last year of college, I got back into playing Chess online (Internet Chess Server) and taking an advanced theoretical physics class. My TA/grader hung out in the same computer workstation lab playing Go when I played Chess. One time, we were chatting and I mentioned that computers were on the verge of beating the best humans at Chess (it was 1993, so this 4 years before Deep Blue beat Kasparov), he mentioned that I should pick up Go as even the best Go programs would lose to an average professional player even with a large handicap.
I said, "I guess it's because less time has been spent developing the algorithm."
"No," he said. "It's more algorithmically complex by a lot!"
I had some free time 7 years later, so I and a friend (another physicist working in Silicon Valley) wanted to get into statistical programming (I guess that would be called AI now). We decided to learn Go in order to write a program (we never did).