In 1996, Gari Kasparov, world chess champion, was seduced by an idea that went around the globe: compete against the IBM Deep Blue computer. Although he lost a game (out of six), the human champion managed to prevail over the digital beast. However, in 1997 and with the improved Deep Blue, the Russian grandmaster lost what was announced as “the most spectacular chess duel in history”, “the final battle for the brain” and other very measured epitomes. The machine, for the first time, had won over man. “I was furious. Not because I lost for the first time against a machine, but because it was the first time I lost, in general, ”Kasparov now recalls in a recent short documentary on the interactive card game. Heartstone, in which the Russian faces an artificial intelligence again. And lose again.
Since that defeat that marked a quarter of a century in February, artificial intelligence has grown by leaps and bounds in the world of technology. In video games, the non-human enemies we face have mercilessly evolved developing their own internal logics. In 2015, Google reissued IBM’s feat and its AlphaGo defeated for the first time a champion of the millennial Go game, the French-Chinese Fan Hui.
These days two technological alerts have taken place. The one who is perhaps the most important person in the world these months, the always great and sometimes disconcerting Elon Musk, left no doubt about what he thinks about it: “Artificial intelligence will make jobs a bit useless,” he said without blink the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX last Thursday in Shanghai, within the framework of the World Conference on Artificial Intelligence. In case there was any doubt, he has reiterated in several tweets this month his interest in hiring expert engineers in the field, as he believes that it is the profession with the most future.
In addition, with nocturnal and treachery (and for free) last Friday it appeared available, for Play Station 5 and Xbox The Matrix Awakens, a demonstration of the capabilities of the Unreal 5 graphics engine based on the Wachowski sisters’ sci-fi universe. It is only a brief car chase and a walk through a city full of vehicles and people, but you can listen to whoever writes this: it is the most indistinguishable from reality that has been done in video games. The lighting, the physics of the cars, the textures of the city, the recreation of actors like Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss are simply breathtaking. Several comments from social network users could be summed up in a statement as daring as it is inescapable (because it is seductive, because it is provocative) in an article like this: “The cinema cannot compete with this.”
We do not know if the cinema (of action, it is understood) will be able to compete “with this”. What we do know is that Kasparov’s documentary is cheating. The champion loses the Heartstone 1-2 but, engrossed in the games of his tabletWhat he does not know is that who he is really playing with is Slyssa, former world number two of the aforementioned game. After the fight and revealed the trap, both greet each other and show mutual admiration. It is very possible that artificial intelligence will end up imposing and making Musk’s prophecy come true, but today those who tighten the nuts are still people. Those who program the machines are still human. The software, for now, you cannot write your own software.
We also know something else: that since the gambling bug bit him (he tells it), Kasparov plays almost daily Heartstone and he’s slowly climbing the world rankings. “As long as we continue to learn, as long as we are willing to continue learning, we will be fine,” the Russian left as an optimistic corollary. If a new fight between apocalyptic and integrated is looming, it seems that Kasparov has already chosen side.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.