Deep Blue besting Gary Kasparov was a landmark moment in artificial intelligence, so much so that it has become almost a cliche of artificial intelligence. It’s even been stolen as a plotline for “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles“!
Interestingly, the plotline for T:TSCC actually hits very close to Gary Kasparov’s own thoughts on computers playing chess; that it isn’t when a computer goes through the motions that it really plays chess, but when it learns to be creative and think outside set, analytic strategies.
Kasparov makes a very passionate argument to the New York Review of Books that we’re looking at computers playing chess all wrong. He cites a great example where a simple human-computer team beat Grand Masters armed with chess computers, all because the winners were able to work with the computers to move beyond statistical analysis.
What really seems to shape his view is this sentiment:
Like so much else in our technology-rich and innovation-poor modern world, chess computing has fallen prey to incrementalism and the demands of the market. Brute-force programs play the best chess, so why bother with anything else? Why waste time and money experimenting with new and innovative ideas when we already know what works? Such thinking should horrify anyone worthy of the name of scientist, but it seems, tragically, to be the norm. Our best minds have gone into financial engineering instead of real engineering, with catastrophic results for both sectors.
It’s a fascinating read, and I highly recommend it. As a chess fan and a geek who loves artificial intelligence, I really loved getting some insight into Kasparov’s worldview. Check out his full article here, and then comment below whether you agree with him or not!