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Garry Kasparov on AI: ‘We aren’t being replaced, we’re being promoted’

Garry Kasparov on AI: ‘We aren’t being replaced, we’re being promoted’

The chess grandmaster talks about the future of intelligent machines, two decades after his fateful bout with IBM’s Deep Blue

Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov

We should be more afraid, not of robots, but of humans using this technology for their clandestine agenda

It has been more than 20 years ago when Garry Kasparov lost a six-game chess match against the IBM computer Deep Blue.

“Many thought that was the end of the game of chess,” says Kasparov, who is considered the world’s greatest chess player.

But, as he points out in his keynote at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo in the Gold Coast, the game “is more popular than ever now”.

He also has an upbeat take on the rise of intelligent machines, such as the one that beat him two decades ago.

He says most discussions around artificial intelligence (AI) see its rise as “the end of the world”, likening it to Pandora’s box.

“AI is not a Terminator, it is a tool, it is a disruptive technology,” Kasparov tells the more than 2000 business technology leaders at the Gartner conference.

He says it is a mistake to think that machines can be superior to humans. “Absolutely not.” Machines are getting more sophisticated and many say they will kill so many jobs, cause unemployment.

But technology has always made many jobs redundant and created new jobs, he says.

“We just have to understand what are the opportunities coming from that.” He says slowing AI down will not do any good because it will just protract the agony.

“It will be painful but it will create new industries and potentially, financial cushion” for humans. Even at my age, I can see a future for my generation because in this new relationship with our computers, we have to use our experience, our wisdom,” he states.

He believes the most effective combination now will be humans compensating for the deficiency of machines.

He points to a quote from the artist Pablo Picasso that “computers are useless, they can only give you answers.” But, he says, it is still the domain of humans to ask the questions.

To this, he juxtaposes a quote from Prof Madeleine Udell, that, “The human sets the framework to solve, defines parameters and method to reduce. Then, the machine solves it. Only a human can determine if the problem is defined well.”

He also prefers the world ‘augmented’ over ‘artificial’ in describing AI. 

“We are reaching a new phase in this (human and machine) relationship,” he says.

He sees humans as operators or sherpas who will have to guide groups of AI algorithms. At the same time, more intelligent technology is easier to use, requiring less training and retraining.

AI, he says, “will free us to be more creative and strategic...and more human.” And this, he says, is the good news about AI: “We aren’t being replaced, we’re being promoted.”

“It is not that machines are evil. They are agnostic, all technology is agnostic. The humans still have the monopoly of evil. At the end of the day, it is for us to make the bad decisions.”

“We should be more afraid, not of robots, but of humans using this technology for their clandestine agenda.”

There are limitless opportunities in this new relationship

“It is important for us to work out this relationship...the responsibility and accountability for it are still with us.”

“Machines will become more intelligent. It means we will have to make sure that we know how to use this power because with these new powers, the impact of each mistake is amplified.”

“It is for us to understand how do we coordinate these machines, how we cooperate with them, how we use them for our advantage.”

“There are limitless opportunities in this new relationship.”


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Tags IBMbig dataroboticsAITerminatoralan turingethics of big dataDeep Blue#GartnerSYMGartner Symposium/ITxpo 2018Garry Kasparov

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