Rapt attention

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Magnus and the fight against the machines

I watched the whole incredible documentary on World Champion chess champion and child prodigy Magnus Carlsen on the flight back from Italy. If you are interested in the human mind, I highly recommend you watch it, whether you have an interest in chess or not.

Magnus plays a positional and intuitive brand of chess and has the highest chess rating ever recorded. Whether he is the equal of Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov is open to some debate.

There is a point in the film that is so fascinating. He is playing Vishy Anand in his first World Championship. Anand is the master at using supercomputers to evaluate moves. Magnus is getting beat up at the beginning of the match and then he does something that the narrator calls going "inside the matrix," he flips the computer on its head, reinvents his game and engages in some completely outside of the box moves, causing the computer to pull its virtual hair out, if not blow a circuit. Ah, humania...

I will not say anymore and play the spoiler but I found the movie incredibly engrossing.

Jonathan Hill sent me a link to this interesting talk by the musician T Bone Burnett that sort of continues in the same vein, in talking about art and human potential. A quick and interesting read, it is entitled Music confounds the machines.

On another note, a Google self driving car was involved in another accident last week. Google blames it on the human in the other car. But in February it was clearly the machines fault. Now news of another Tesla autopilot death. Elon thinks that there will always be an engineering solution out there but can one truly ever feel confident in taking the human mind completely out of the decision making equation?

1 comment:

Douglas Keller said...

Sometimes I drive...I drive without my seatbelt on. It's kinda thrilling. A cheap thrill, of sorts. Maybe pilotless cars will pose a similar risk?...until they totally nail it all down, I mean. Now, we took that kind of risk everyday once upon a time. Have we no balls anymore? Where's our sense of adventure?