[FOM] AI in Chess/Kasparov

Paul Budnik paul at mtnmath.com
Mon Feb 1 13:59:22 EST 2010

Harvey Friedman wrote:
> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/22/gary-kasparov-on-chess-me_n_432043.html
> The above touches on some interesting AI issues.
> ...
> Also to ponder:
> amateur human + skilled computer use dominates top human + competent  
> computer use.
It suggests that use of computers can lead to different approaches and 
different skill sets becoming more important in creative problem 
solving. It is part of the reason I think approaches like the ordinal 
calculator (www.mtnmath.com/ord) can lead to mathematics that is not 
practical with a more conventional approach.  We have long had an 
example of this with the solution to the four color problem.
> This all seems to suggest that computers and humans have orthogonal  
> abilities. I wonder what, if anything, rigorous can be learned from  
> the chess experience.
Today's computers have abilities that parallel human abilities but are 
vastly more powerful. There are far more human capacities that they 
lack, but that may be temporary. Best understood among these abilities 
is simple pattern recognition, i. e., making sense out of a visual 
scene. It is some form of intuitive pattern recognition that seems to 
guide mathematicians in choosing what problems to tackle and how to 
approach them. In the chess tournament, high level pattern recognition 
by amateurs guided the search of their computers. That, according to the 
article,  enabled them to beat teams of grand masters with less 
skillfully guided computers.

Computers may eventually have the same and then vastly more powerful 
pattern recognition capacities than humans. It will take time and more 
powerful computers. The futurist and AI expert, Ray Kurzweil has 
predicted that we will, in the not too distant future, be able to scan 
the living brain in enough detail to reproduce its functionality.
> Consider the following Conjecture in three forms:
> A Human chess player will come along whose ideas are so creatively  
> powerful, that
> i. (s)he will consistently beat humans.
> ii. (s)he will consistently beat computers.
> iii. (s)he will consistently beat human + computer.
> I wonder what people think of these Conjectures, and how we may try to  
> say something interesting about them rigorously, before the GREAT ONE  
> appears?
Already computers consistently beat all humans and that is only going to 
become more decisive. Eventually a computer alone may defeat teams of 
humans plus computers because the computer will be able to do whatever 
humans do in playing chess only much faster. That is my guess. 

The article emphasizes how computers have changed the game of chess 
because talented kids start out playing computers. This makes them 
better chess players. I suspect the same thing is happening or will 
happen in virtually every other scientific field including the 
foundations of mathematics.

Paul Budnik

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