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The 1997 chess game that thrust AI into the spotlight

May 11, 1997 was a watershed for the relationship between man and machine, when the artificial intelligence (AI) supercomputer Deep Blue finally achieved what developers had been promising for decades. “Deep Blue’s victory made people realise that machines could be as strong as humans, even on their territory,” he said.”This is not about man versus machine. This is really about how we, humans, use technology to solve difficult problems,” said Deep Blue team chief Chung-Jen Tan after the match, listing possible benefits from financial analysis to weather forecasting. “AI has exploded over the last 10 years or so,” UCLA computer science professor Richard Korf told AFP. – ‘One man cracked’ -He hinted there had been unfair practices, denied he had really lost and concluded that nothing at all had been proved about the power of computers. The computer was beatable, he argued, because it had too many weak points. AI-powered machines have mastered every game going and now have much bigger worlds to conquer.Yann LeCun, head of AI research at Meta/Facebook, told AFP there had been “absolutely incredible progress” in recent years. It is a far cry from 1997, when Facebook didn’t even exist. Experts agree that the Kasparov match was important as a symbol but left little in the way of a technical legacy.”It was also a piece of dedicated hardware designed just to play chess.”They have fuelled increasingly powerful AI machines with unimaginable amounts of data from their users, serving up remorselessly targeted content and advertising and forging trillion-dollar companies in the process. Devices from vacuum cleaners to doorbells come with arrays of sensors to furnish AI systems with data to better target consumers. Despite his painful history with machines, Kasparov is largely unfazed by AI’s increasingly dominant position. “The real danger comes not from killer robots but from people — because people still have a monopoly on evil.”…

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