Computers, Games and the Real World; Exploring Intelligence; Scientific American Presents; by Ginsberg; 6 Page(s)
The world watched with considerable amazement in May 1997 as IBM's chess computer, Deep Blue, beat Garry Kasparov, the world champion, in a six-game match. With a machine's victory in this most cerebral of games, it seemed that a line had been crossed, that our measurements of ourselves might need tailoring.
The truth of who ultimately won and who lost, of course, is not so black-and-white. Kasparov played poorly, resigning a game that would have led to a draw early in the match and making a completely uncharacteristic error in the last game. And while chess-playing computers have been gaining an edge on their human competitors for some time, in many other games, such as Go and bridge, computer players remain relatively weak. Still, in checkers and Othello, machines have been the world's strongest players for years. Backgammon, like chess, is currently too close to call, whereas machines have a slight but definite edge in Scrabble.