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We’ve Met Our Robot Overlords…

… and they are us.

A while back I was talking with our friend Frank Lantz about when games break, and I was suggesting that a game was as bad as broken when a computer could always beat a human at it. What reason would anyone have for playing a game when they knew that high level play was exclusive to super-smart AI?

Well, that day is a long way off and may, in fact, never arrive. The day that is here, however, belongs to computer augmented champions. In Chess, at least. The Atlantic has a piece in its newest issue about how a decades old computer program called Chess Base 10 is helping new players reach higher levels of play faster. The article itself is a little scattered and I wish it went into more detail, but it does have a few nice little tidbits.

How long before the highest level play in Chess is done by computer-coached humans, or human-coached computers? Will the powers that be ever allow that to even take place?

Technology and games have an interesting place in games these days. Where some innovations, like the swimsuit worn by Michael Phelps that reduces his friction in water, are welcomed but others are shunned, like performance enhancing drugs. Does anyone know of some good articles out there that go into this discussion in more depth?


  1. Vinnie wrote:

    Over the summer Slate ran a really interesting article on athletes with normal vision using LASIK to get exceptional vision. They contrasted the acceptance of laser-enhancement with the stigma of drug-enhancement. A very interesting and worthwhile read:

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 1:00 pm | Permalink
  2. Charles Joseph wrote:

    That’s a great piece, thanks Vinnie!

    I also remembered a controversy that centered around a runner with no legs named, Oscar Pistorius. While he failed to qualify for this past year’s Olympics, it was said before that his prosthetics would give him an unfair advantage.

    The funny thing about this is that it seems like it’s only a controversy in real-world games. I’m hard pressed to think of a video game that couldn’t easily be dominated by a computer.

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

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