Tag Archives: AI

Deep Thinking

Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins (2017) by Garry Kasparov and Mig Greengard is a book that looks at how machines eclipsed people in playing chess and what this means for humanity.

Kasparov is one of the greatest chess grand masters of all time and the last human to be the best chess player on the planet. In 1997 Deep Blue defeated him taking the crown for an activity that was once seen as the epitome of human intelligence.

The book looks at how computers play chess, how they were initially fairly week and how in the late 1980s they began to become as good as the best human chess players and finally beat them.

The story of the actual game shows that Kasparov believes, it appears with good reason, that his loss to IBM’s Deep Blue involved quite a bit of unfair play. The machine was allowed access to his back catalogue and was quite possibly altered during the game. However, he also makes it clear that if he had won that game he would have lost within a few years. Computers had become too good.

Kasparov goes on to reflect on how this has changed chess, how modern grand masters use computers very differently and how the combination of humans and chess computers is, for the moment, better than just computers on their own. He also reflects on how this doesn’t mean that the singularity is near and the book has a great quote from Andrew Ng, the Machine Learning expert from Stanford, Baidu and Google who says that worrying about super-intelligent computers is like worrying about overcrowding on Mars.

The book is very interesting in parts but also quite dull in parts. You’d really have to be a great chess aficionado and someone who is interested in what a smart, informed person has to say about AI to really appreciate it all. And even then you’d probably find it sags in the middle. However it certainly contains insights from someone with a unique perspective on chess and AI.


The Most Human Human

The Most Human Human (2012) by Brian Christian looks at how AI can make us reflect on what our human qualities are and how AI relates to them. Christian was one of the human participants in the 2009 Turing Test, where computers attempt to pass as humans as both chat to judges over written messages.

Christian has degrees in Computer Science and Philosophy and so is ideally placed to write about the subject of humanity and AI. The book is also well crafted. The story of Christian being a confederate in the Turing Test and his discussion of AI and humanity is interleaved skillfully.

Comparing chatbots and how people also follow scripts as well as how computers have improved at chess and other fields and pondering what makes humans different is definitely an interesting topic and the book does this all well.For anyone interested and how humanity is different and similar it’s definitely worth a read.