Chess and Computers

Peter Thiel and Garry Kasparov were recorded having multiple conversations during a day in which they hung out.

At one point during the video they discuss computing power and speed. Kasporav known for playing Deep Blue, a computer designed to play chess, stated that humans associate computing power with chess playing. He believes humans associate chess playing with wisdom.

As computers get better at playing chess, society thinks that computers are improving at solving all problems. People who play chess, like Kasparov, are assumed to be intelligent because they are good at a game. But, is this true?

Kasparov dedicated a large portion of his early life to playing chess. He began training at the age of 10. Although he may have had a natural affinity and love of the game, practicing, and studying is what made him great.

To the layperson, someone who plays chess is deemed intelligent. So, this association naturally expands into computers.

If a computer can beat a human at something we deem as human and intelligent then they are becoming smarter at everything.

There are many things that computers don't do well. Computer scientist group these problems into the category of NP problems.

Humans, including programmers and visionaries, are very poor at estimating time to complete complex tasks. We overestimate things we don't understand and underestimate things that we do.

Until we have a technology breakthrough (e.g. quantum computing) we will still have machines which are poor at solving a certain class of problem.

Stamina to Continue

If you have the stamina to continue, the opponent will collapse.

  • Garry Kasparov

At one point, Thiel asks Kasparov what strategy he uses when playing simultaneous games. Kasparov says he focuses on keeping each game equally matched and waiting for his opponents to make a miscalculation.

Written: August 17, 2013

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