Friday, March 11, 2011

Chess and Computers

A big question about the future is what computers will do to human labor and economic activity. Here's a good article that looks at what computers have done to chess players. This is probably a good guide to what will happen with expert computers more generally.

Sample quotes:

Chess is an area where educational reform has been extremely rapid and extremely successful.  Chess education today revolves around learning how to learn from the computer, and this change has come within the last ten to fifteen years.  No intermediaries were able to prevent it or slow it down.  Humans now teach themselves how to team with computers, and the leading human players have to be very good at this.  The computers which most successfully team with humans are those which replicate most rapidly.

Chess-playing computers still are not meta-rational.  They do not understand what they do not understand very well, for instance blocked positions and long sequences of repetition.  That is one reason why human-computer teams are so important and so productive. 

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