January 23, 2010

The unique chess decade

Nice cornerGary Kasparov has an interesting essay on the effects of widespread beyond-grandmaster chess software on the chess community.

Here is a quote that caught my eye:

It was my luck (perhaps my bad luck) to be the world chess champion during the critical years in which computers challenged, then surpassed, human chess players. Before 1994 and after 2004 these duels held little interest. The computers quickly went from too weak to too strong. But for a span of ten years these contests were fascinating clashes between the computational power of the machines (and, lest we forget, the human wisdom of their programmers) and the intuition and knowledge of the grandmaster.

This is a nice illustration to Eliezer's "linear singularity" case: even a steady increase of performance may look surprising and sudden if we use a parochial scale where we do not notice the change because it occurs on a scale below the usual human range (see slide 5-6, 20 of his presentaiton at the Singularity Summit 2007).

Another interesting point, about computer-aided chess:

Weak human + machine + better process was superior to a strong computer alone and, more remarkably, superior to a strong human + machine + inferior process.

It is all in the software, it seems.

Posted by Anders3 at January 23, 2010 08:43 PM