Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Joys of Imperfection

M. Whyte pines for errors. System errors. He fears of a time when chess and music are solved by machines, computers.

But hang on a second here: if the computer is now smart enough to beat us at chess, then what is the point in us playing the game anymore? I mean, that’s it; it’s been solved. Yes, we can organise playoffs between IBM’s Deep Blue III and Sun Microsystems’ Goliath IV, or whatever names they give these beasts, but it’s still going to be a computer that wins. And isn’t that sad? No more of us puny humans battling it out over such an innocent pastime? In the 1978 world final between Karpov and Korchnoi they had to place a wooden barrier under the table between the two players to stop them kicking each other. Isn’t that great? That two Grandmasters who had worked so hard and achieved so much were nonetheless reduced to taking swipes at each other under a desk! But that’s all gone now. Now we’re just going to have a cold printout of the moves between two machines and there is a good chance the game itself will be forgotten to history.

More from The Cud.

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