Author: Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov — one of the highest rated Grandmasters in Chess history and the first to defeat an AI supercomputer. However, he’s best known as the guy who lost to a different iteration of that supercomputer in 1997.
This book is a telling of his thoughts on the future of humans and artificial intelligence and for once… it’s refreshing. He’s put away the doom and gloom that some analysts speak from and looked at it from a positive and critical angle. It’s a neat approach because… you know… he would be on the front lines to know what it would be like to have AI take your job.
In his words:
“Romanticizing the loss of jobs to technology is little better than
complaining that antibiotics put too many grave diggers out of work. The transfer of labor from humans to our inventions is nothing less than the history of civilization.
There is no back, only forward.
Most of this book looks at his personal history with chess and its marriage with computers. Specifically, he gets into details of how weak it was when it started and how long it took before they actually became a threat on the chess board.
Yes, he gives an an in-depth analysis, from his own perspective this time, of that fated match with IBMs “Deep Blue.”
Interwoven within this narrative are his thoughts on the progression and consequences of artificial intelligence in this world.
It was an addicting read and I found myself slowing down just to soak up every word Kasparov was saying. Having an interest in chess helped, but his voice is so clear and full of wisdom that it doesn’t matter how much you really know about the game. You just want to hear what he has to say.
In the end, he challenges us to use this new cusp of technology as an opportunity to make leaps towards other cognitive horizons that we’re not even imagining yet.
“We haven’t lost free will; we have gained time that we just don’t know what to do with. We have gained incredible powers, virtual omniscience, but still lack the sense of purpose to apply them in ways that satisfy us.”
Maybe this next smartphone addicted generation we keep complaining about will be the ones to make that leap.