How computers beat us at our own games

Saturday, August 8, 2020 - 04:20 in Mathematics & Economics

Victory is not always assured (Totto Renna/)Humans have been playing games for centuries, but we’re still not perfect at them: We make mistakes, underestimate opponents, and can think only a few moves ahead. Computers have no such shortcomings. An artificial intelligence can master most of the classics if it runs enough simulations. As processing power has increased, machines have grown adept enough to trounce their creators at everything from tic-tac-toe to backgammon (though the programs still can’t compete at more creative pursuits like crosswords). Here’s a timeline of their march to victory.ChessThe history of AI arguably begins with chess. Around 1948, computing pioneer Alan Turing scribbled the first lines of an algorithm for pondering rooks and bishops. Nearly 50 years later, IBM’s Deep Blue program edged out world champ Garry Kasparov in a sweat-soaked competition.CheckersIBM whiz Arthur Samuel wrote the first checkers program on his company’s clunky 701 computer in...

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