Pawn Sacrifice

‘Pawn Sacrifice’ Examines Genius Of Chess Champion Bobby Fischer
September 16, 2015

NPR talks with chess writer and grandmaster Andy Soltis about 11th World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer and the movie Pawn Sacrifice.

SIEGEL: In some sports – I’m including chess as a sport – we just assume that today’s competitors, given whatever training tools they have or whatever instruments they have – what kind of tennis racket, what kind of golf club – they’re all better today than the people who played the game 30 years ago. Does one assume that the quality of chess players grows in that sense, or if Fischer came back tomorrow, could he take on all the guys who are playing the game right now?

SOLTIS: He would need some time to catch up, catch up on the opening theory and that type of stuff. And he would also have to get used to working with computers because that’s – the computers are just so much better than chess players nowadays. There’s a world championship chess tournament going on right now that hardly anybody pays attention to in the chess world because all the players in it are computers, and they’re far much – far better than we are. They make moves that we just don’t understand.

Augmented intelligence

Big Data and the Rise of Augmented Intelligence
Sean Gourley at TEDxAuckland
Dec 5, 2012

Dr. Sean Gourley is the founder and CTO of Quid. He is a Physicist by training. Sean worked at NASA on self-repairing nano-circuits and is a two-time New Zealand track and field champion. Sean is now based in San Francisco where he is building tools to augment human intelligence.

The top chess players in the world are not humans OR computers, but combinations of humans AND computers.  Gourley argues that the world we are living in is too complex for any single human mind to understand and that we need to team up with machines to make better decisions.

see also:

Turing Test: passed

Do Feelings Compute? If Not, The Turing Test Doesn’t Mean Much
by Geoff Nunberg
July 01, 2014

At an event held at the Royal Society in London, for the first time ever, a computer passed the Turing Test, which is widely taken as the benchmark for saying a machine is engaging in intelligent thought.
But like the other much-hyped triumphs of artificial intelligence, this one wasn’t quite what it appeared.
Computers can do things that seem quintessentially human, but they usually take a different path to get there.
IBM’s Deep Blue mastered chess not by refining its intuitions but by evaluating hundreds of millions of positions per second.
Watson won at Jeopardy not by wide reading but by swallowing all of Wikipedia

The Turing Test Is Not What You Think It Is
by Alva Noë
June 13, 2014

Turing Tests in Creative Arts

Just Tell Me I Can’t

Just Tell Me I Can’t

At 49, Jamie Moyer’s Pitching Career Goes Into Extra Innings
October 02, 2013

We don’t often think of professional athletes improving with age, but Jamie Moyer was a better pitcher in his 40s than he was in his 20s. Moyer became the oldest pitcher to win a Major League Baseball game when, in April 2012, at the age of 49 years, 150 days, he pitched the Colorado Rockies to a 5-3 win over the San Diego Padres.

Moyer chronicles his journey in a new book, Just Tell Me I Can’t: How Jamie Moyer Defied the Radar Gun and Defeated Time.
The memoir, is full of inside-baseball tales: how he got inside hitters’ heads, worked umpires to get a better strike zone, and learned to use his teeth — yes, his teeth — to tell his catcher he was changing the location of the pitch he was throwing.

… paralysis by analysis.
I think sometimes we can get too much information and paralyze ourselves with all of the information and forget the task at hand.

On using psychology to frustrate batters
So now take that ego that they have and use it against them. … If I can throw a hard pitch — maybe it’s just off the plate — but [then] I throw the same pitch or a pitch looking just like it, but it’s 8-10 miles an hour slower … and they swing like it’s the hard pitch, now all of the sudden they’re thinking it’s a fastball and they’re swinging way ahead of the ball, and now they become frustrated.
And that’s where the game of chess, of cat and mouse in baseball really comes into play.

Machines That Think

Machines That Think
By David Bjerklie
TIME Rise of the Robots. July 2013. p. 38-43

Artificial-intelligence researchers have been at their quest for decades. It looks as if things are about to get real.

Humanlike robots make an appearance in Homer’s Iliad

stealing fire from the gods

Pamela McCorduck has chronicled the history of AI

AI has many incarnations, and some of them have been “smarter” than humans for decades:
– crunching numbers
– chess
– identifying patterns in mountains of raw data

computers are woefully behind in common-sense cognitive skills

human wordplay


doe-eyed robots:
– Georgia Tech’s Simon
– MIT’s Nexi

University of Sussex’s ECCERobot

For decades, “chess was considered the summum bonum of human intelligence.” We marveled at the masters’ concentration, tactics, and strategies and their ability to visualize positions a dozen moves ahead.. We saw in the great games embodiments of daring, passion, and icy reserve. And then in 1997 IBM’s Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov …

In the 1970s the artist Harold Cohen developed a computer program, AARON, which has been drawing and painting ever since.