Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Which Decisions Should We Leave To Algorithms?

Slaves to the algorithm.

Computers could take some tough decisions out of our hands, if we let them. Is there still a place for human judgement?

Robot playing chess with person 

'When Garry Kasparov lost his second match against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue in 1997, people predicted that computers would eventually destroy chess.'  

In central London this spring, eight of the world’s greatest minds performed on a dimly lit stage in a wood-panelled theatre. An audience of hundreds watched in hushed reverence. This was the closing stretch of the 14-round Candidates’ Tournament, to decide who would take on the current chess world champion, Viswanathan Anand, later this year.

Each round took a day: one game could last seven or eight hours. Sometimes both players would be hunched over their board together, elbows on table, splayed fingers propping up heads as though to support their craniums against tremendous internal pressure. At times, one player would lean forward while his rival slumped back in an executive leather chair like a bored office worker, staring into space. Then the opponent would make his move, stop his clock, and stand up, wandering around to cast an expert glance over the positions in the other games before stalking upstage to pour himself more coffee. On a raised dais, inscrutable, sat the white-haired arbiter, the tournament’s presiding official. Behind him was a giant screen showing the four current chess positions. So proceeded the fantastically complex slow-motion violence of the games, and the silently intense emotional theatre of their players.

For the rest of the story: http://www.aeonmagazine.com/world-views/steven-poole-can-algorithms-ever-take-over-from-humans/

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