Watch: In 1997, a game of chess changed the face of artificial intelligence forever

Garry Kasparov's defeat to IBM's supercomputer Deep Blue made artificial intelligence an uncomfortable reality.

Garry Kasparov is a chess prodigy from Azerbaijan and a five-time world champion. On May 11, 1997, the world’s (then) greatest chess player in history was defeated by the IBM supercomputer, Deep Blue.

At that moment, artificial intelligence became an uncomfortable and yet ground-breaking reality.

Computers that could play chess had existed since the 1950s, but until 1985, they had little luck playing against humans. Feng-hsing Hsu, a student at Carnegie Mellon, developed a computer called Chiptest in 1985, which was designed to play chess at a more advanced level. In 1989, Hsu and a classmate went on to join a team of scientists led by CJ Tan at IBM that was working on developing Deep Blue, the supercomputer.

The scientists at IBM wanted to imitate the kind of thought patterns, the strong calculation and intuition that chess players rely on and develop over time. Kasparov, at the same time, became the youngest world champion at the age of 22.

In 1996, an arrogant Kasparov scoffed at the idea of a machine beating him, and defeated Deep Blue in their first chess series, declaring the superiority of human intelligence over artificial. He did, however, lose the first game before winning three and drawing two.

IBM then went back to work on Deep Blue, this time incorporating algorithms that could learn from older moves, thus bringing artificial intelligence even closer to resembling the human mind. By now, the supercomputer could calculate as many as 100 to 200 billion moves in the time a player got at the time to make a move.

In May, 1997, IBM challenged Kasparov once again with the new and improved Deep Blue. After six games, from May 3 to May 11, artificial intelligence won over human intelligence, marking one of the ground-breaking moments in the history of computer science, and of mankind.

Kasparov blamed his defeat on a single move by the computer, which, fifteen years later, turned out to be a bug in the computer’s software. This was pointed out in a book titled The Signal and the Noise published by New York Times journalist Nate Silver.

That single move, he said, was so sophisticated that it unsettled him. The move turned out to be completely random, caused by the bug. However, there is no saying that Kasparov would have won the match otherwise.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Children's Day is not for children alone

It’s also a time for adults to revisit their childhood.

Most adults look at childhood wistfully, as a time when the biggest worry was a scraped knee, every adult was a source of chocolate and every fight lasted only till the next playtime. Since time immemorial, children seem to have nailed the art of being joyful, and adults can learn a thing or two about stress-free living from them. Now it’s that time of the year again when children are celebrated for...simply being children, and let it serve as a timely reminder for adults to board that imaginary time machine and revisit their childhood. If you’re unable to unbuckle yourself from your adult seat, here is some inspiration.

Start small, by doodling at the back page of your to-do diary as a throwback to that ancient school tradition. If you’re more confident, you could even start your own comic strip featuring people in your lives. You can caricaturise them or attribute them animal personalities for the sake of humour. Stuck in a boring meeting? Draw your boss with mouse ears or your coffee with radioactive powers. Just make sure you give your colleagues aliases.

Pull a prank, those not resulting in revenue losses of course. Prank calls, creeping up behind someone…pull them out from your memory and watch as everyone has a good laugh. Dress up a little quirky for work. It’s time you tried those colourful ties, or tastefully mismatched socks. Dress as your favourite cartoon characters someday – it’s as easy as choosing a ponytail-style, drawing a scar on your forehead or converting a bath towel into a cape. Even dinner can be full of childish fun. No, you don’t have to eat spinach if you don’t like it. Use the available cutlery and bust out your favourite tunes. Spoons and forks are good enough for any beat and for the rest, count on your voice to belt out any pitch. Better yet, stream the classic cartoons of your childhood instead of binge watching drama or news; they seem even funnier as an adult. If you prefer reading before bedtime, do a reread of your favourite childhood book(s). You’ll be surprised by their timeless wisdom.

A regular day has scope for childhood indulgences in every nook and cranny. While walking down a lane, challenge your friend to a non-stop game of hopscotch till the end of the tiled footpath. If you’re of a petite frame, insist on a ride in the trolley as you about picking items in the supermarket. Challenge your fellow gym goers and trainers to a hula hoop routine, and beat ‘em to it!

Children have an incredible ability to be completely immersed in the moment during play, and acting like one benefits adults too. Just count the moments of precious laughter you will have added to your day in the process. So, take time to indulge yourself and celebrate life with child-like abandon, as the video below shows.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of SBI Life and not by the Scroll editorial team.