The cheating scandal that has rocked the chess world over the past month has sparked debate about the role of artificial intelligence in high-level competitions.
Last month, five-time world chess champion Magnus Carlsen pulled out of the tournament after a move with rising teenage star Hans Niemann. Carlsen later formally accused Neumann of fraud, sparking a weeks-long controversy.
The online chess platform Chess.com published a 72-page report this week saying that Niemann "probably cheated" in more than 100 online games, but that there was not enough "statistical evidence" to say that Niemann cheated in person. . – table matches.
In a recent article in The Atlantic titled "Chess Is Now Poker," associate editor Mateo Wong explored how Niemann can use artificial intelligence software to direct games and discussed the role of computers in modern chess. Below is an edited transcript of Wong's conversation with Marketplace host Kai Rysdal.
Mateo Wong. So the basic idea is that artificial intelligence known as "chess engines" are far better than any human at chess at this point. And so if you get guidance from them, even for some important points of the game, it will give you a great advantage. A lot of ideas floating around are vibrating devices like electronic shoe attachments, things like that. Some people I've talked to have even said that they don't need to make an exact move, just a hint will be enough to help them find the best match.
Kai Rysdal. Can we talk for a second about this chess mechanic, you know, the cards that move my decks on the table, which is a new term for me. Probably the last time many people outside of the chess world paid attention to AI and chess was when IBM beat Big Blue or Deep Blue or finally a human. I think now that AI is everywhere, what computers can do is orders of magnitude more advanced.
Wong: Yes, Deep Blue beat then champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. And it was a big deal. But this machine was in costume as a 3,000-pound supercomputer in an IBM research lab. In about 10 years, there will be a lot of advancements in both hardware and software, and you'll get to a point where AI, a chess engine running on a standard desktop computer, can beat the best players in the world.
rice valley I have to ask you about another phrase I learned from this article and that is about competitiveness as well as rate of improvement. Now there are things called "millipedes" in chess. what is this
Wong: Right: Yes, this is another example of how computers can dominate people. When trying to evaluate a chess player's performance in a game, people often compare his moves to what a better chess engine would do. And there are some estimates that he'll lose a few hundredths of a footman compared to what a computer would do, which is a hundredth. And so there was a lot of speculation about whether Hans Neumann was a fraud, or whether he played a lot like a computer. I have no experience with this.
rice valley Well, if you don't, I certainly won't. Therefore, I will ask you a completely subjective question. I don't know if you're a baseball fan…
rice valley OK. About a generation ago, maybe a little more, this whole idea of the subdimension was born, right? It's the idea of quantifying everything that happens on the baseball field. So you can watch it and figure out which player would be better at third base, right? I'd say it just takes the romance out of the game. I get criticized by my friends when I say this, but this is my point of view. Do you think the idea of chess pawns and artificial intelligence takes the romance out of chess?
Wong: I really don't think so. I think he feels like he's memorizing more and more that, you know, chess is more and more like spelling. I think that's certainly true, and it's grown a lot. But I think another change happened in 2017. And then Google started this program called AlphaZero. AlphaZero, on the other hand, was a neural network-based artificial intelligence that played itself in four hours, beating the best chess software. Yes, you can look at it and say it breaks new ground for gaming. And there's another way of looking at it, which is, if people get a lot of inspiration from these neural network-based algorithms, what are they actually creating? ?
rice valley Yes. I'm going with this second year. So have you downloaded some of these engines and played with them? I take it you're a chess player, aren't you?
Wong: I play chess. I'm not very good (laughs), so I didn't have much experience with them. Honestly, you probably should.
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