Continued on: Revised:
PARIS (AFP) – Pushing his hand firmly into his cheek and his eyes fixed on the table, Garry Kasparov took one last deep look at the chessboard before leaving the room: the chess king had just been beaten by the computer.
May 11, 1997 was a turning point for the relationship between man and machine, when the artificial intelligence (AI) supercomputer Deep Blue finally achieved what developers had been promising for decades.
It was an “incredible” moment, AI expert Philippe Rowlett told AFP, even if the lasting technical impact was not that big.
“Deep Blue’s victory made people realize that machines can be as strong as humans, even in their field,” he said.
Developers at IBM, the American firm that created Deep Blue, were pleased with the victory, but quickly focused on wider importance.
Chung-Jen Tan, head of the Deep Blue team, listed the potential benefits from post-match financial analysis to weather forecasting, saying, “It’s not about man versus machine. It’s really about how we How humans use technology to solve difficult problems.
Even Chung would have struggled to understand how central AI has become now – finding applications in nearly every area of human existence.
“AI has exploded over the past 10 years,” UCLA computer science professor Richard Korf told AFP.
“Now we’re doing what used to be impossible.”
‘A man cracked’
After his defeat, Kasparov, still widely regarded as the greatest chess player of all time, was furious.
He indicated that there had been inappropriate behavior, denied that he had in fact lost and concluded that nothing had been proved about the power of the computer.
He explained that the match could be seen as “a man, the best player in the world, (who) is torn under pressure”.
The computer was beatable, he argued, because it had too many weak points.
Nowadays, the best computers will always beat even the strongest human chess players.
AI-powered machines have mastered every game and now there are huge worlds to conquer.
Korf cites remarkable advances in facial recognition that have helped make self-driving cars a reality.
Yan Lecan, head of AI research at Meta/Facebook, told AFP there had been “absolutely incredible progress” in recent years.
But one of the founding fathers of modern AI, achievements of today’s computers include “the ability to translate any language into a set of 200 languages” or “a neural network that understands 100 languages”. Lists in the list.
This is a far cry from 1997, when Facebook didn’t even exist.
Machines ‘not a threat’
Experts agree that the Kasparov match was important as a symbol but with little left in the way of technical legacy.
“There was nothing revolutionary in the design of Deep Blue,” Korff said, describing it as an evolution of the methods around the 1950s.
“It was also a piece of dedicated hardware designed just for playing chess.”
Facebook, Google and other tech firms have pushed AI in all other directions.
They have fueled increasingly powerful AI machines with unimaginable amounts of data from their users, serving up ruthlessly targeted content and advertising, and crafting trillion-dollar companies in the process.
AI technology now helps determine anything from room temperature to the cost of vehicle insurance.
Appliances from vacuum cleaners to doorbells come with arrays of sensors to better present AI systems with data to target consumers.
While critics lament the loss of privacy, enthusiasts agree that AI products make everyone’s life easier.
Despite his painful history with machines, Kasparov is largely taken aback by the increasingly dominant state of AI.
“There is no evidence that the machines are threatening us,” he told AFP last year.
“The real danger comes not from killer robots but from people – because people still have a monopoly on evil.”
© 2022 AFP