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And its not another chess game. Way back in 1996, a super chess power named Garry Kasparov agreed for a match with IBM’s Computer [it was still ‘computer’ without the intelligence aspect amplified] named Deep Blue. Was the name an inspiration from Deep Throat?Or is just the phonetics? The incredible then happened. Deep Blue won the first match. History was created. Unbelievable! If it stunned the world, the chess champion shattered would be an understatement. Kasparov would recollect later about playing with computers but none like Deep Blue. Kasparov, as the reigning champion, was so confident about his strength that the might of the machine that made its move in the chess match was no match. It wasn’t just the champion, but the pundits and public never for once doubted. No one doubted. Just the same no one expected. Computer to dethrone the champ? It happens in the time when google was probably in incubation and software was limping its way in to our lives. The impact was limited, restricted to few and used by fewer. Times when people remembered phone numbers of their contacts and reliance on ‘hardware’ like computers was confined to space, defense and research. All things around too hardly smelled anything close to ‘software’, and programs was yet to be synonymous as software just as search with google. It was in this exciting backdrop, the fight between a human brain versus a relatively unknown machine was pitted. It might sound Ayan Randish, but there is no such thing called a ‘collective brain’ and should it exist, then it will not be mortal but machines, and rightly positioned, Deep Blue was a result of many a mind with innovations and inventions. Chess is an amazing, sophisticated and brilliant game where the mind is really placed at a premium. Its philosophical too ‘you cannot reach the white square without stepping into a black’, and game is a strategic one, just like wars fought with ‘horses and bayonets’. A great tactical move or act of blunder – whichever way, that’s the game of chess. So imagine Kasparov moving a pawn, what should Deep Blue do in response? Defense or offence? So the machine had to think of all possible scenarios and also think further about the countermove. Its about preempting and predicting to an accuracy that’s alarming, and even freaking IQ. A normal mind cannot fathom as much, and hence Kasparov was deeply respected for his intelligence and ability to look ahead – way ahead that he could do the mental math to break all barriers or detect a breach from a distance. That was baffling. Even more would be Deep Blue, for it shocked not just the millions of multitude, but Kasparov himself was baffled by the way the system battled “But a computer, I thought, would never make such a move. A computer can't ‘see’ the long-term consequences of structural changes in the position or understand how changes in pawn formations may be good or bad.” So when he conceded, rather, Deep Blue won, Kasparov would acknowledge the brilliance and the intelligence “I GOT MY FIRST GLIMPSE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ON Feb. 10, 1996, at 4:45 p.m. EST, when in the first game of my match with Deep Blue, the computer nudged a pawn forward to a square where it could easily be captured. It was a wonderful and extremely human move.” Kasparov will go on to win the next game and eventually the championship, and we all recall that near to impossible win of Deep Blue and cheered the challenge posed to the champion. Today the odds are reversed as we almost revere AI to the point of ubiquitous in our lives. There is no aspect in our life that AI has not penetrated. All along we lived without the knowledge of its existence. And our dependence on data is almost complete for even simple and mundane chores are reflective in our inability to store data in a machine than carry in person. Why call it artificial? We have seen advancement exceed advancements in AI. We have seen job creation to job destruction by the very intelligence. It works both ways. Automation and robotics disrupted human lives by replacing their services and unseated their position and unsettled their lives. That’s the typical trade-off for change. Its not the cry of a luddite but all things come at a cost and technology today is the most powerful inclusion. Kasparov would state “my instincts told me “. So a celebrated chess champion still relies on his behavioral response. Till that day, artificial will be artificial. Then again, wasn’t it a terrific wake-up call that made us stand up and salute. We owe as much to Deep Blue in enabling us to deep dive in AI. And what the future holds…… machines might rule but will never master the creator.


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