Chess is one of the world's most popular games. Its popularity and complexity make it an interesting research domain for artificial intelligence. The number of board positions we can get to from the initial board state is larger than the number of atoms in the universe! Chess playing machines have been the subject of human interest for hundreds of years, but only on the last few decades have they been able to compete with (and beat) the world champions. Chess programs now have their own tournaments.
When IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer won its famous chess rematch with then world champion Garry Kasparov in May 1997, the victory was hailed far and wide as a triumph of artificial intelligence. But John McCarthy – the man who coined the term and pioneered the field of AI research – didn't see it that way. As far back as the mid-60s, chess was called the "Drosophila of artificial intelligence" – a reference to the fruit flies biologists used to uncover the secrets of genetics – and McCarthy believed his successors in AI research had taken the analogy too far. "Computer chess has developed much as genetics might have if the geneticists had concentrated their efforts starting in 1910 on breeding racing Drosophila," McCarthy wrote following Deep Blue's win. "We would have some science, but mainly we would have very fast fruit flies."
Tread gently on the planet with a versatile pack made mostly from recycled materials. The shell of the Deep Blue gets its crinkly feel from recycled spinnaker sails. This strong ripstop nylon is designed to spend all day in the wind, so you can pack the ultralight bag for any oceanic excursion. A waterproof compartment keeps your wet swimsuit and flip-flops separate from your Kindle. A collaboration between Mafia and designer Yves Béhar, nearly every piece of material is reclaimed from climbing ropes, seat belts, and even old wet suits.
This article is part of Demystifying AI, a series of posts that (try to) disambiguate the jargon and myths surrounding AI. Since the inception of artificial intelligence in the 1950s, we've been trying to find ways to measure progress in the field of AI. For many, the golden criteria for AI the Turing Test, an evaluation of whether a computer can exhibit human behavior. But the Turing Test only defines whether AI can fool humans, not compete with them, and it's very hard to say how deep the Test goes. A much better arena to test the extent of AI's intelligence, many scientists believe, are games, domains where contestants can measure and compare their success and clearly determine which one performs better.
IBM once again gave the world an impressive update on the competition between humans and machines. The company known for building supercomputers that can defeat grand master chess players and champion Jeopardy contestants, hosted another Man vs. Machine contest in San Francisco on Monday. A system that IBM calls Project Debater faced off against two humans in two separate debates. The verdict: Humans are still ahead, but the gap is closing. Debater won one of the two debates as voted by the audience, but who won was almost beside the point.
OpenAI made headlines last year when it proved a bot could beat a professional gamer head to head at one of the world's most complex video games. But it had one more gaming goal to conquer -- to beat a professional team of five. Now, after proving the bot can beat teams that rank in the top 1 percent of amateur players for its game of choice, OpenAI will get its chance to shine at the International, one of the world's most established video game tournaments. The tournament is where the researchers hope to showcase how far Elon Musk-backed OpenAI has come in terms of its ability to control its five-character team as well as any team of five humans can. While machines have beaten humans at games -- from IBM computer Deep Blue's chess victory in 1997 to a Google bot's win over Go champion Lee Sedol in 2016 -- each game has offered a new challenge for artificial intelligence to solve.
The notion of artificial intelligence is something which has long excited technological society. Among the various stories constructed around it are (as in the film Terminator) those of robots ruling the world with humans fighting a losing battle against them. Gary Kasparov, the world chess champion, was matched against an IBM supercomputer named Deep Blue in 1996 and 1997 under tournament conditions and lost in the 1997 rematch. Since chess is, in the popular imagination, the height of intellectual prowess, this created quite a stir and it was anticipated by the popular press that humankind would eventually have to make way for a greater intelligence -- one which it had itself created. 'AI' is a fairly broad term which includes a number of unglamorous capabilities that fall far short of defeating a reigning chess champion.
Following this, the US government gave funding to McCarthy and fellow scientist Marvin Minsky to develop AI to help strengthen their stance in the Cold War with Russia. Efforts were made to use artificial intelligence to understand the patterns behind the Russian language, which they hoped would enable them to translate Russian documents on a larger scale more quickly. Government funding for AI was slashed as not enough progress had been made. In 1973, Professor Sir James Lighthill argued that machines would never be capable of achieving more than an "experienced amateur" level of chess. Deep Blue was capable of analysing up to 200 million potential positions a second.
One of the first AI case studies most people are familiar with is the Gary Kasparov vs Deep Blue chess match. Kasparov, one the world's greatest chess players, was bested by artificial intelligence in 1997 and the world began to realize it would be "impossible for humans to compete" with technology advancing, combined with humanity's propensity for error. AI has crept into everyday life in a number of ways, such Alexa and Siri. When Spotify recommends new songs or artists to me – it has all the necessary data to make good decisions. When two opponents engage in a chess match, the piece placement and relativity to other pieces are data points the players can utilize to make the right decisions and moves.
A computer screen is photographed February 16, 1996 at IBM's headquarters in Armonk, New York, during IBM's supercomputer Deep Blue' s matches against world chess champion Garry Kasparov. The word "bot" is a name given to artificial intelligence (AI) that takes the place of player characters in online multiplayer video games. Some of the earliest examples include Perfect Dark on the Nintendo 64 system, which included the feature as a means of bypassing player limitations on such pre-Internet enabled consoles. AI has been a feature of video games since their inception way back in 1947 with one of the most significant examples of inclusion being with Deep Blue, a chess computer created by IBM which is notable for its ability to best the greatest minds in chess, including Garry Kasparov. However, AI is a concept that has somewhat been flipped on its head in recent years, as ground-breaking innovations such as machine learning and Internet of Things (IOT) have become vital instrumentalities in the corporate world.
Despite losing at chess to the IBM Deep Blue computer more than 20 years ago, Garry Kasparov is a big believer in artificial intelligence. The former world chess champion is now an author and speaker who is trying to counter some of the more alarmist beliefs over the rise of AI technologies, typically exemplified in Hollywood movies in which robots rise against their human creators. Speaking at the Train AI conference on Thursday in San Francisco, Kasparov explained how humanity has long considered people's performance in playing a game of chess as a metric of intelligence. "People looked at it as an opportunity to go deep in the human mind," he said of chess. That's why when Kasparov lost to Deep Blue in 1997 in a rematch from a prior match he won in 1996 -- which, he likes to note, "nobody remembers" -- people considered it a "watershed moment" for computer science.