« All Episodes: Gigaom AI Minute – January 5

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In 1997, Kasparov was defeated by Deep Blue. IBM was able to build such a program in part because they had the records of tens of thousands of games that they could feed in to train Deep Blue how to play the game.

You no doubt know about AlphaGo defeating Lee Sedol. The platform on which AlphaGo was built is called AlphaZero. It’s a much broader platform, just designed to play games in general, and recently it was tasked with playing chess. And in just a matter of 24 hours, it developed to the level that it could beat some of the best chess programs out there.

But what’s interesting is it largely was not trained on historic human games. And as such, as it learned to play on its own, it exhibited behavior that would definitely be considered odd by chess standards. It would sacrifice pieces to gain position on the board, it would hide, say, a queen away in a corner.

The way it played chess was described as alien, that it played chess differently than a computer program, and that it played it differently than a human; that it was an alien form. And I wonder if there is a time when it will actually be regarded as an alien.

Artificial intelligence will be seen not only as alive, but as a completely different form of life, a completely different form of intelligence than human intelligence. On the other hand, the program was made by people who figured out how to get it to do what it does, and so the fact that it seems alien may just be an artifact of how it was built.

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