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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘chess

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Larry Claes at Centauri Dreams considers the issues of the alien featuring in the title of the classic The Thing, facing human persecution.
  • John Quiggin at Crooked Timber starts a debate about past blogging and conventional wisdom.
  • The Crux reports on a mass rescue of orphaned flamingo chicks in South Africa.
  • D-Brief notes new evidence that asteroids provided perhaps half of the Earth’s current supply of water.
  • Cody Delistraty looks at how the far-right in Germany is appropriating artworks to support its view of history.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that China may be hoping to build a base at the Moon’s south pole by 2029.
  • Far Outliers reports on the 1865 collapse of the Confederacy.
  • Gizmodo reports on how astronomers have identified the approximate location of a kilonova that seeded the nascent solar system with heavy elements.
  • Joe. My. God. shares the news from yet another study demonstrating that HIV cannot be transmitted by HIV-undetectable people. U=U.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how, via Herb Caen, the Beat Generation became known as Beatniks.
  • Language Hat shares and comments upon a passage from Dostoevsky noting how an obscenity can be stretched out into an entire conversation.
  • Language Log considers a peculiarity of the Beijing dialect.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how statehood has been used to game the American political system.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper suggesting that countries with greater levels of gender inequality are more likely to produce female chess grandmasters.
  • Justin Petrone at North!, considering the history of writers in Estonia, considers what the mission of the writer should be.
  • The NYR Daily examines the black people once miners in the Kentucky town of Lynch, remembering and sharing their experiences.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw considers what he has learned from a recent research and writing contract.
  • Jason C. Davis at the Planetary Society Blog reports in greater detail on the crater Hayabusa 2 made in asteroid Ryugu.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains how the Event Horizon Telescope acts like a mirror.
  • Strange Company shares an impressively diverse collection of links.
  • Towleroad talks with writer Tim Murphy about his new novel, Correspondents.
  • Window on Eurasia considers future directions for Ukrainian language policy.
  • Arnold Zwicky takes a look at the artistic riches horded by the Nazis in the Bavarian castle of Neuschwanstein.

[PHOTO] Playing street chess during the Annex Festival on Bloor

Playing street chess during the Annex Festival on Bloor

Written by Randy McDonald

June 9, 2014 at 12:19 pm

[BRIEF NOTE] Shenk on computer intelligence and chess

Scanning David Shenk‘s The Immortal Game: A History of Chess, a history of that popular game, I came across a passage examining the implications of the 1997 victory of IBM computer Deep Blue over Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov that evoked the writings of Temple Grandin on what she sees the highly situational and often irregular nature of intelligence.

Some were quick to point out that the stunning achievement was limited to a mere board game. Deep Blue didn’t know how to stop at a red light, and couldn’t string two words together or offer anything else in the way of even simulated intelligence. Others didn’t think that even the chess win was so amazing. MIT linguist Noam Chomsky scoffed that a computer beating a grandmaster at chess was about as momentous “as the fact that a bulldozer can lift more than some weight lifter.” It was simply another case in the long history of technology, he argued, of humans inventing machines that could perform highly specialized tasks with great efficiency. Specialization did not intelligence make.

Chomsky seemed to have a point. Deep Blue was no [2001] Hal. Over the course of many decades, chess computing had not actually enabled computer to think very much like humans at all. “[Alan Turing]’s expectation was that chess-programming would contribute to the study of how human beings think,” says Jack Copeland, director of the Turing Archive for the History of Computing at the University of Canterbury. “In fact, little or nothing about human thought processes has been learned from the series of projects that culminated in Deep Blue.”

Thinking like humans, though, had never really been the intention of the AI community. That had been Turing’s original dream, but the practical consensus from the very beginning was to suss out a new kind of intelligence. And in fact, they had done just that. As the twenty-first century began, machines were able to make all sorts of intelligent actions that went far beyond mere calculations. “There are today hundreds of examples of narrow AI deeply integrated into our information-based economy,” explains Ray Kurzweil, author of The Age of Spiritual Machines. “Routing emails and cell phone calls, automatically diagnosing electrocardiograms and blood cell images, directing cruise missiles and weapon systems, automatically landing airplanes, conducting pattern-recognition-based financial transactions, detecting credit card fraud, and a myriad of other automated tasks are all successful examples of AI in use today.”

Add to that list: speech recognition, hazardous-duty robots, swimming pool antidrowning detectors, the Mars Sojourner explorer vehicle, and bits and pieces of most contemporary cars, televisions, and word processors. Looking at it under the hood, machine-based intelligence may look entirely different from human intelligence, but it is intelligence, proponents argue. “Believe me, Fritz is intelligent,” Frederic Friedel, cofounder of ChessBase software, says of one of his company’s most popular programs. “It is a kind of intelligence. If you look at anyone playing against a computer, within minutes they say things like, ‘Oh God, he’s trying to trap my Queebn,” and ‘Tricky little bloke,’ and ‘Ah, he saw that.’ They’re taqlking about it as if it is a human being. And it is behaving exactly like someone who’s trying to trick you, trying to trap your Queen. It seems to smell the danger.”

In other words, it passes the Turing test. In front of the curtain, it displays what seem like the actions of a very smart human being, even though, behind the curtain, its mechanics are in no way attempting to mimic the functions of the human brain. The AI community has already succeeded ion substituting computers for functions formerly thought to require human intelligence, which implies that (1) we need to broaden our understanding of intelligence, and (2) the smart machines are coming. “This machine intelligence is completely different from what people thought it would be,” says Friedel. “We have to acknowledge that intelligence, like life forms, has incredible variety. We [in the chess community] are the first to see a completely different form of intelligence. But w2e all have to understand it is coming” (218-219)

Written by Randy McDonald

November 13, 2006 at 7:13 pm

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