It might seem that humans no longer have anything to contribute to the game of chess. But the invention of freestyle chess tournaments shows how far this is from the truth. In these events, teams can include any combination of human and digital players. The key insight from freestyle chess is that people and computers don’t approach the task the same way. This distinction is a valid and important one, adding up a column of numbers is totally routine and by now totally automated, but here again the boundary between the two task categories is not always obvious. Very few people would have considered playing chess a routine task half a century ago. In fact, it was considered one of the highest expressions of human ability. We’ve never seen a truly creative machine, or an entrepreneurial one, or an innovative one. Programs that can write clean prose are amazing achievements, but we’ve not yet seen one that can figure out what to write about next. We’ve also never seen software that could create good software. These activities have one thing in common, ideation, or coming up with new ideas or concepts. To be more precise, we should probably say good new ideas or concepts, since computers can easily be programmed to generate new combinations of preexisting elements like words. Ideation in its many forms is an area today where humans have a comparative advantage over machines. The boundary between uniquely human creativity and machine capabilities continues to change. After time working with leading technologists and watching one bastion of human uniqueness after another fall before the inexorable onslaught of innovation, it’s becoming harder to have confidence that any given task will be indefinitely resistant to automation. That means people will mean people will need to be more adaptable and flexible in their career aspirations, ready to move on from areas that become subject to automation, and seize new opportunities where machines complement and argument human capabilities.
As a former tournament chess player, I can directly relate to how the machine is influencing the game of chess. As the article explains, the human was dethroned from the game of chess in 1997. In the game of chess, for you to be considered a grandmaster, you must be able to analyze and execute plays seven moves ahead of the current game state. When the computer won the match, this proves nothing more than IBM can create a machine that can think one or more moves ahead of the defending world champion. The game of chess itself is an art. Although the machine outpaces the chess master’s foresight capacity, it cannot think for itself. Unlike a human to human game of chess, where either player can make a move which is either a bluff, lure or random response to the situation, the computer cannot formulate a strategy other than thinking more moves ahead of its opponent. Chess is a great translation of the machine vs. the human. Although the machine is capable of thinking harder, it lacks the ability to reason. The only way to truly utilize the capacity of the machine is when humans work together with it. Like the freestyle chess competitions which started in the year 2005, a human must be working tandem with the machine for it to be a tool of any true value.
Came across this while answering number 6 of the mega quiz. Really interesting project with a thorough analysis: